Partnerships and Pajamas: TWC students offer "story time" to community children

Posted on: April 16, 2012

Five Tennessee Wesleyan College education students have turned their passion for teaching into play and story time for community children. Partnering with E.G. Fisher Public Library, TWC Professor Nancy Gregg created "Pajama Storytime" a monthly event held at the library that serves community children and provides a service-learning opportunity to students in her Literacy and Language Acquisition class.

Five Tennessee Wesleyan College education students have turned their passion for teaching into play and story time for community children. Partnering with E.G. Fisher Public Library, TWC Professor Nancy Gregg created “Pajama Storytime,” a monthly event held at the library that serves community children and provides a service-learning opportunity to students in her Literacy and Language Acquisition class.

“This was a great partnership and it truly fulfilled a need within the community,” said Gregg, who teaches early childhood education at TWC.

Throughout their spring semester, TWC early childhood education majors Katy Triplett, Katelyn Weiner, Chesney Johnston, Allyson Frazier and Bretta Wright prepared a monthly program for community children that paired reading children’s books with themed crafts, the crafts expanding on the material of the chosen book.

From a science-themed “Goodnight Moon” reading to a Valentine’s Day “Love you Forever” event, the students chose crafts and activities that integrated a book’s theme to help the children associate the reading with the visuals.

“When we read ‘Goodnight Moon’ we had the TWC science department bring in a telescope,” said Triplett. “We took the children outside and let them take turns viewing the moon through the telescope. It was unbelievably rewarding seeing the children make that connection between the book and the activity.”

Serving children from 9 months to 5 years old, the “Pajama Storytime” event helped Triplett and her classmates learn how to plan and pace activities as teachers.

 “It’s nice having these opportunities because you learn to be flexible,” said Johnston. “You get the chance to work with the children and have them transition from the book to the craft. It gives us the opportunity to experience teaching.”

Offering both a service to the community and a teaching experience to TWC education majors, Gregg sees events like “Pajama Storytime” expanding in the future with the help of E.G. Fisher Library.

“One of the goals of TWC’s commitment to service-learning is creating community partnerships that provide added value to the college’s contributions to our local communities,” said Gregg. “With service-learning, we want the concepts our students are learning in class to be taken from theory to application.

“Future teachers learn about the importance of exposing young children to books and other print materials in order to establish a basis for development of reading and writing skills. “Pajama Storytime” allows our students to use this information and build teaching skills by applying concepts to real-life settings. The children who participate benefit by gaining additional exposure to books and the ideas found in those books.”