This spring, La Salle undergraduates taking a Language Development course as part of the university’s Speech Program had the opportunity to work more closely with Clarke students for a service project. The college students spent 18-24 hours in Clarke preschool classrooms.
Working one-to-one with the children, the undergrads helped students record stories through a book kit activity. The goal was to reinforce the importance of literacy as early as preschool. “There are fun ways to create a literacy experience without actually needing to read and write,” said Lindsay Petersen, MA CCC-SLP/L, a speech-language pathologist for Clarke Philadelphia. “All children regardless of their abilities and needs can acquire vocabulary, story-telling, predictability, rhyming and inferencing skills through reading activities.”
While the college students helped Clarke preschoolers with literacy, Clarke professionals shared best practices with the undergrads. The La Salle students learned about the importance of emphasizing “carryover,” that is, giving parents and guardians activities for continuing skill-building with their children at home. “It can be as simple as picking up one book every night,” shared Lindsay.
Teaching students who are deaf or hard of hearing was also a unique learning experience for the La Salle students. “This partnership gave us the opportunity to help college students in the Speech Program understand the depth of hearing loss and how it impacts development,” noted Lindsay. Many of the college students were surprised at the preschoolers’ listening and spoken language skills.
Lindsay, who has been with Clarke since 2014, looks forward to leveraging Clarke’s partnership (and the school’s convenient location) in the future!