Throughout the month of April, UMKC student-athletes teamed up with the UMKC Edgar L. and Rheta A. Berkley Child and Family Development Center (CFDC) to celebrate “Month of the Young Child.”
This annual celebration, sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), occurs every April and focuses on promoting the benefits of outdoor play and recess in schools and early childhood programs.
Student-athletes from the women’s soccer, women’s basketball and men’s basketball teams visited the Berkley Center to interact with the children and engage in sports and outdoor activities during recess. Paige Husa, a School of Education junior pursing Middle School Social Studies, was among them. Husa is a center for the UMKC women’s basketball team.
“The children at Berkley absolutely love playing any type of game, especially basketball and soccer, with the UMKC student-athletes,” shared Polly Prendergast, director of Berkley CFDC. “We are so fortunate to have representation from both our women and men athletics teams each year during the Month of the Young Child. The children’s interactions with the student-athletes are so intentional and they seem to flourish with the interactions and relationships they build. Both the girls and the boys always have bright smiles on their faces and just delight in playing with the UMKC students.”
“I love volunteering at Berkley,” explained Husa. “Not only because I have a blast playing with the kids, but I also get hands on experience for my future career in education. While I may be preparing to teach middle school kids, it is so neat to see how a child’s mind works at such a young age. Berkley gave both me and my teammates that opportunity.
Amelia Howard, assistant director of Academic Support at UMKC, noted “We always look forward to Month of the Young Child. The student-athletes enjoy being able to interact and play with the children at the Berkley Center and show them how much fun playing sports can be.”
Since 1993, Berkley has been part of the UMKC School of Education and serves as a learning laboratory for early childhood education students.