Coming in spring 2019, Elizabethtown College will advance its relationship with U-Gro Learning Centres out of Harrisburg. The three million dollar building will be located at the entrance of the Masonic Villages of Elizabethtown, about a mile from campus.
The new center offers opportunity for students here to gain real-world experience in the education field. Aside from using the learning center as an opportunity for observation of a classroom they will be able to see the relationship between a student and teacher, as well as an opportunity for students to try different teaching techniques in the real world.
Because the U-Gro is an expansion on the already existent lab-school learning environment, it can expose education majors to young learners.
Sara Lechner, first year early education major, discussed the blended model of curriculum that is coming with U-Gro “At such a young age, it is great to let them explore and discover on their own while also introducing them to concepts through direct teaching,” she said. U-Gro offers an opportunity for hands on work and Lechner believes, “The more experience you have, the better off you’ll be as a teacher,” which is the main goal of the partnership with Elizabethtown College and U-Gro.
Katey Mowery, junior secondary math education major, found that U-Gro would come in hand during first year placements. “I think the U-Gro would be a useful alternative to the pre-existing early childhood placement,” Mowery said. She also believes the new placement opportunity would help when first year students spend three weeks in each level of education; early childhood, middle school and high school.
Courtney Talbert, first year secondary education major, believes that the U-Gro addition will even be helpful for her because “It would be beneficial for me to see where my students came from,” she said. “How they grew to be the students they are now when I have them in high school” she said.
Lechner said that by having a placement only a mile away would be very convenient stating that “Some placements are 30 minutes away.” Having a car on campus has been useful for her when it came to getting to and from placements. Mowery had similar feeling about the location of the new center, “Sometimes we have placements that may be over 20 miles away,” she said. With multiple students working at U-Gro there would be an opportunity for carpooling.
Despite the U-Gro Learning Centre being a primary advantage to the early education majors, it appears as though they could be beneficial for a larger variety of people and can be used as a new opportunity for future teachers to be fully submerged into their future careers. As well as open a new location for the care of the children for those that work here on campus.