Expo lets youth explore world

Robert Hope, 2, of New Orleans, got his passport stamped as he moved from “country” to “country” Nov. 27 at the Early Childhood Education Methods Learning Centers Expo at the Children’s Discovery Center.

“It’s great,” said Robert’s nanny, Stephanie Young. “It’s something different.”

Youth in pre-kindergarten to third grade visited a castle in Ireland, Big Ben in London, a pyramid in Egypt, a Latin marketplace and a rainforest.

The expo was the final project of the semester for early education students from Southeastern Louisiana University.

They designed it to teach youth a variety of skills, including how to better use their gross and fine motor skills.

The theme, “The Places You’ll Go — Around the World,” incorporated games and activities from about a half-dozen countries, focusing on numerous subjects and based on the Louisiana Common Core Standards, said Early Education instructor Jean Stewart.

For example, in the Amazon rainforest, youth participated in a vocabulary center, a music center and a math activity, Stewart said.

Henry Strauss, 4, of Philadelphia, created his very own pizza from pieces of felt in “Italy,” and received another stamp on his passport.

“He’s very interested in travel,” his mother said. “I travel with my job a lot, and he has a map. This will give him an opportunity to know a little bit more about the countries.”

Other youths in Italy spent time counting cooked pasta and meatballs they had served themselves.

“It’s hands-on, interactive and student-driven,” Stewart said. “The student gets to choose what they want to do.”

“If you give them something to do as opposed to telling them something, they learn better,” said early education student Katie Crowder, of Hammond.

The expo also aimed to teach youth how things are done in other countries, Crowder said.

To help children get a taste of Egypt, early education students Mary Sabadie, of Slidell, and Rachael Rizzo, of Kenner, showed them how to write their names in hieroglyphics.

“We want them to use their creativity,” Sabadie said.

In addition to the public, field trips were scheduled throughout the day, and students from surrounding areas got to experience the centers, Stewart said.

Early education student Elizabeth Young, of Baton Rouge, said that while putting the project together was definitely time consuming, it was well worth it.

“It gives them a better understanding of our cultural differences,” Young said.

While the expo was only temporary, the Children’s Discovery Center is a permanent fixture in Hammond and has numerous activities for youth.

To learn more about the Center, log on to http://lcdcof
hammond.org. The center is located at 113 N Cypress St., Hammond. It can be reached at (985) 340-9150.