CBU’s language and literacy preschool provides support to children
Riverside, Calif. (June 16, 2022) – California Baptist University wrapped up its first language and literacy preschool this week. The school was aimed at children ages 18 months to 4 years with communication disorders.
The Clinical Education Center at CBU held the preschool over eight sessions offered at no cost to the participants and their families. Graduate students from the Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology program helped run the activities.
Dr. Danette Bonillo, director of the Clinical Education Center, said students have learned so much theory and now they’re able to apply it to real life situations.
“There’s a dynamic learning process of working with preschoolers, and students can use a variety of materials like crafts, books and songs to engage them,” Bonillo said. “When you learn how to adapt, it’s just amazing. It’s like magic watching these children mix and participate in activities.”
The graduate students also practice parent engagement, Bonillo said.
“Students are learning how to educate the families and feel more comfortable with that,” Bonillo said. “They tell the families how to build activities to facilitate language in the home.”
Jessica Goolsby, whose 4-year-old daughter has mosaic Down syndrome, said this program integrates learning all the senses into fun new ways.
Goolsby’s husband, Chip, has lupus and needs the support of a service dog named Boaz for mobility and detecting flare ups. The clinical education team created a program about Boaz and invited him to class to engage in activities where the children learned that the dog has a purpose and to teach them to see and not touch.
“They were very thoughtful in how they came to class and included him,” Goolsby said. “Touch, visual and movement are taught all at once, and that makes the learning experience faster and makes it stay with them. My daughter is already talking more in the few weeks she’s been here.”
Brittney Colvin, a graduate student at CBU, said this program is setting her up for success.
“We come in and provide these children with an opportunity to have a space and make sure they understand that they are loved and feel that love,” Colvin said.
Mercy Homer, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders, said hands-on experience is the most valuable to students.
“We give the students a lot of book and research knowledge, but I really feel in my heart that hands-on knowledge and interaction with parents is a valuable asset,” Homer said. “It gives the students this priceless opportunity, and I think that has been a blessing to them to reap the rewards of that.”