BY SALLY KING
Jean Spittal, instructor at Big Creek Elementary School’s before and after school Extended Program, has received a $1000 grant from the Berea Education Foundation to finance a program entitled, “I Like Who I Am and It Shows!” Jean created it to be used with the 90 kindergarten through fourth grade students enrolled in Big Creek’s Extended Program. The grant money will be used to cover the cost of books, activities, puppet stand, puppets, rewards, prizes, and supplies needed for the students to make their own personal care kits.
Planned games, stories, and activities will be used on a monthly basis to help each student to recognize his or her importance as well as strengthen their self-image. The year- long program will also involve the entire staff as well as all of Big Creek’s students. The monthly activities will be incorporated through the use of the games and stories for all students attending Big Creek. Each child’s potential and capabilities will be the common theme for each grade level.
The major focus of Spittal’s “I Like Who I Am and It Shows!” program is to enhance each child’s self-esteem as well as recognize and understand the feelings each of us has about ourselves. A child’s sense of self may include his or her physical appearance, social acceptance, and behavior, yet, it also includes physical, academic, or artistic abilities. Students are also taught how and why personal hygiene and manners are necessary if one is to function as an acceptable member of family, school, and society. To demonstrate how feeling good on the outside is as important as on the inside, activities will include “experiments” making their own bath soap, shampoo, and toothpaste. Role playing, puppet shows, and writing their own “scripts” will assist students in being active participants in the program.
Jean Spittal’s “I Like Who I Am and It Shows!” self-esteem unit is already well underway. She plans to recognize each accomplishment with a small “celebration” throughout the year to instill a sense of pride and success. Spittal’s love of her work is clearly evident. She states, “I learn from the parents and kids. This is a great job!”
Jean attended Cleveland State and The University of Phoenix, earning her degree in early childhood education. She also does annual in-service training including First Aid, CPR, and Communicable Diseases.