Children see the value of giving to local charity

    If you have ever noticed groups of young children on campus, they are likely to be under the supervision of an on-campus child care center. Before they begin their regular schooling, these children are experiencing their early development in the special child care facilities that serve the children of UCSD students, faculty, staff and some UCSD nonaffiliates. At the Early Childhood Education Center, located in the Mesa Married and Graduate Student Housing on Regents Road, the setting has been carefully designed to fit the developmental needs of the children.

    Kenrick Leung
    Guardian

    Within their special environment, the children help each other to create and expand on new interests through cooperative explorations. The adults at the ECEC watch the development of the children in their relations with one another. They also encourage them in their explorations, support their decisions and create opportunities for their individual and group play. Recently, these children have been involved in special charitable activities involving the outside community.

    One such special activity was an eyeglasses drive. The drive was the idea of ECEC director Jane Carroll. After having eye surgery at the Shiley Eye Center at UCSD, she noticed that the center was collecting used glasses for the needy. She mentioned the idea to the staff, and the collection began. After Thanksgiving and through Christmas, the ECEC collected 60 pairs of used prescription eyeglasses for needy adults and children in Mexico. These glasses will be matched to people with similar prescriptions. The drive involved everyone connected with the center.

    “”The staff encouraged parents to donate, and some even donated themselves,”” Carroll said.

    Tyler Huff
    Guardian

    The collection was also beneficial to the givers, since it gave them a chance to give up old pairs of glasses they would not have gotten rid of otherwise. Most importantly, it reflected the spirit of giving during the holidays. The children learned that it was important to give rather than simply receive.

    “”The children who dropped off glasses were very happy,”” Carroll said, noting the eagerness of the children to participate in the drive.

    Carroll was especially pleased with the donation of children’s glasses because of the demand for child-size eyeglasses. She added that one child, who had been wearing glasses from a very young age, was aware of the significance of her donation.

    “”She seemed to understand what she was doing and was very happy about it,”” Carroll said.

    The children have also been involved in decorating tote bags for attendees of the annual United Way kickoff, which will take place in San Diego later this year. The children were excited to take part in this activity because of the unique art experience they received. In the past, the center has organized other charitable activities, such as food and toy drives, but the eyeglasses drive was the first such activity done outside of the center.

    Carroll was not surprised by the enthusiasm and generosity of the children. She is also looking forward to organizing more charitable activities like this one in the future, and believes that the experience will encourage them to continue their charitable ways.

    “”I think children are naturally benevolent,”” she said. “”This was so well received, and it was a great way to celebrate the children’s getting involved.””

    The children’s participation in the charitable activities fit the nature of the ECEC very well. Its mission is to offer a high quality early childhood education program and to give the children a sense of the world by providing an enriched and diverse environment.

    Teaching methods are based on Piaget’s philosophy that children develop through active self-initiated and self-regulated processes. It offers four developmental programs in which teachers encourage the children to make decisions, act on them and reflect on the outcomes of these decisions. Each of the four programs is for children of specific age groups.

    The groups of infants (11 months and walking to 2 years old), toddlers (2 to 3 years old), preschool (3 to 5 years old) and kindergarten (5 to 6-and-a-half years old) are each involved in age-appropriate activities. Such activities include art projects, singing, outdoor activities, writing and computer projects that will facilitate their growth and development. The kindergarten program follows the California Department of Education guidelines.

    The skills they learn at the ECEC will one day be used at school, work and in everyday life. The ECEC staff hopes that they will use their experiences to make an impact later in life.

    For more information on the ECEC, call (858) 534-2768 between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

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