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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


International kindergarteners visit to get taste of student life

Alex Kulpinski
Lydia Stern / Arizona Daily Wildcat Thirty-six kindergartners from John B. Wright Elementary travel to the UA for a field trip. The students are from all over the world and are all English Language Learners. Wilbur pays them a surprise visit at the Education WOW library as Elementary Education majors read to them about animals since they will be visiting the zoo next week.

Wilbur went worldwide with a surprise visit to international kindergarteners on Tuesday.

Kindergarten students who moved to Tucson from around the world visited the College of Education’s World of Words library, where juniors in the college who regularly student-teach these students read to them. The 39 kindergarteners from John B. Wright Elementary School, who are learning English as a second language, were graced with a surprise visit from Wilbur halfway through their visit.

Once students in the college are accepted into the elementary education program, the first semester of their junior year acts as an orientation to education and provides them with foundational teaching knowledge. Juniors in the program no longer have classes on campus, but instead attend classes at a local elementary school contracted with the College of Education.

Bringing kindergarten students to campus represents a reciprocal relationship between these students and university students, said Donna Jurich, director of Elementary and Early Childhood Education. This is because it allows students in the college to have experience in the teaching field while motivating children to starting thinking about college, she said.

“Our focus has been to work with Title I schools that have a high population of kids that speak a variety of different languages because we believe that this is the population that we can serve the best,” Jurich said.

The kindergarten students visited different classrooms, met with professors, spoke with college students and visited McKale Center’s Hall of Champions. This opportunity will help students in the college understand how much of an influence they have over these children and can learn how to be a role modes for them, said Crystal Soltero, an assistant professor of practice, teaching and learning.

“Kids look up to their student teachers, knowing that they are college students and they want to be just like them,” Soltero said. “This field trip is designed to help the kids understand what college is and to get them to start thinking about universities and where they want to be.”

Lauren Raab, an elementary education junior, read “Dinosaur Woods” out loud to the nine kindergartners she regularly instructs to teach them about different types of animals. The kindergartners will visit the local zoo next week. The visit to campus allowed the kindergartners to get a taste of the college experience at a young age, she said.

“I want to be just like Wilbur when I grow up,” said Ali Abdullah, one of the kindergarteners. “Because he has a cool hat.”

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