Education Majors & Pioneer Athletes Bring Joy to Children with Special Needs
That's what happens, says Lindsay Lehman, Early Childhood Education and Intervention Specialist major, when you get into one room kids with special needs, people who love them, games, costumes, and a cotton candy machine.
"I love how happy we can make kids for just an evening," says Lindsay of Malone's Campus Carnival for Kids event. "This event is their element, and this year it was really fun to give kids the opportunity to be superheroes and help save the day for some of their favorite story characters."
Each year, Malone's Council for Exceptional Children (MCEC) and Pioneer Athletes host a carnival for elementary-aged kids with special needs and their families. This year's theme was, "Rescuing Fairy Tale Land" in which children helped Cinderella find her shoe, aided the cold-stricken Big Bad Wolf blow down the houses of the three little pigs, or helped Jack get unstuck from the beanstalk.
"Kids with needs need opportunities to just be a kid," says Ashley Weaver, also an Intervention Specialist and Early Childhood Education major. "Everyone has a blast - from the kids to the parents and us. It's the cutest thing to see football players hamming it up to the kids or 'princesses' in prom dress reading to kids."
During each carnival, the students plan a reading room in case children get overwhelmed. In addition to princesses reading stories, this year there were also dogs that the children could read to, as animals can sometimes calm children down.
"This event - and the whole education program at Malone - is all amazing," says Laura DePasquale, and Early Childhood Education major. "I'm having an experience I couldn't have anywhere else. I'm not just a number here - the professors care so much about what they do. They are shaping us, they care about who we become as educators and as individuals."
Mostly, Lindsay says, Malone professors inspire the future teachers. So that someday soon, they will be making magic happen every day, in a classroom of their own.
Watch the video commercial for 2014: