Alumna's gift transforms Preschool Learning Lab playground
The children at the Learning Lab have someone to thank for their new state-of-the-art outdoor learning space. The recently completed tower structure is the capstone of a nine-year project led by Cal Poly human development alumna Fran McIntyre.
The idea for the playground came to McIntyre in 2007, shortly after selling her business — an early childhood education company. She was looking for a way to give back to Cal Poly, the institution that had given her the skills and knowledge to launch a successful career. “For me, it was about completing the circle. Cal Poly helped me become successful, so I wanted to give back and help others.” Read more about the Preschool Learning Lab playground renovation in Your Impact Magazine.
Where Are They Now?
After graduation in 2015, Sabrina Alvaro moved to Milan, Italy to work at British American Preschool as an early years teacher. She started her first year as a teaching assistant then became a Master Teacher. Children who attend this school primarily speak Italian but all teachers at the school are English language speakers from all over the world. The school follows a child centered approach to learning while simultaneously providing English language acquisition. Sabrina’s experiences at Cal Poly as a child development major helped her pursue her dreams and become a global citizen. She says “CD 230, CD 424 and working and interning at the preschool learning lab, and senior project all led me to where I am today. Preschool Laboratory will always be the class that changed my life; I found a passion for early years and how children that age see the world. This course connected theory covered in class to real life examples and was further reinforced by thoughtful discussions with professors and students. I gained a lot of skills by researching bilingual education for my senior project, and it is actually what led me to the school I'm working at right now in Milan. I will always be thankful for the support of my passions from child development faculty and the knowledge I gained from child development courses to come out of college feeling more than prepared and with something to offer to the world of early childhood education."
Tess Haifley (Child Development, '16) will attend UC Santa Cruz where she will focus on developmental psychology. Tess states, “Cal Poly's child development program prepared me with the tools and education I needed to pursue graduate school and with the support and personal attention that was crucial to my undergraduate journey. The Psychology and Child Development Department provided several opportunities for me to grow both personally and professionally, which provided me experience and competitiveness while applying to graduate school. Some of the most valuable experiences were working as a research assistant and lab manager with Dr. Jipson, where I gained important research skills and mentorship. Other valuable experiences I had were working at the Preschool Learning Lab, where I was able to engage with children in a hands-on level, learning important tools of observation and interaction from Dr. Clarkson, Kari and Pauline. I want to thank the faculty and lecturers at Cal Poly who helped me and countless other students along our way, including those mentioned above, as well as Dr. Jovanovic, Dr. Garcia and Dr. Williams for their advice and collaboration working on the Student Advisory Committee.”
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