Monday, May 06, 2013

UIS partners with Riverton kindergarten class to teach kids about college

Throughout the 2012-13 school year, kindergartners at Riverton Elementary School learned first-hand what it’s like to go to college.

The University of Illinois Springfield partnered with Ms. Kyleigh Campbell’s class to bring professors, students, and staff into the kindergarten classroom. The partnership is part of the elementary school’s “no excuses university” pledge.

“The whole concept behind no excuses university is teaching students no matter what, they have a future at a college or a trade school,” said Campbell.

Campbell reached out to UIS, which started the 10 month partnership. Representatives from UIS visited the school every two weeks, introducing the elementary students to a new aspect of the college experience.

“We contacted (UIS) because you’re a local university and the kids have absolutely loved getting to know you guys,” said Campbell.

Several UIS sports teams visited the school, including the men’s soccer team, men’s basketball team, women’s basketball team, and the volleyball team. The UIS cheerleaders and Cozmo, the UIS mascot character, also paid the school a visit.

“What they’ve asked us to do is to bring a myriad of programs and things that happen at our university and show the kids early on what you can do,” said Joan Sestak, UIS director of community relations.

Several faculty members, including Assistant Professor of Accountancy Lisa Chen, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Visual Arts Allison Lacher, and Computer Science Instructors Lucinda Caughey and Mary Sheila Tracy also helped to educate the students.

“I don’t think they realized how much they can really do at school,” said Campbell. “The fact that there is so much athletically (they can do), all the majors and staff you brought out. They didn’t realize what college was all about.”

The kindergartners also learned that college can be fun when UIS students from the Voices in Praise Choir and Legacy Dance teams performed.

“The (UIS) students, I think have gotten more out of it,” said Sestak. “I think they were surprised when they came, how interested the kindergartners were to learn about what they do in college.”

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