(Spiller Elementary / Wytheville Child Development Center) – Building a class family in her preschool aged classroom is something that Jennifer Halsey, from Spiller Elementary/Wytheville Child Development Center, is focused on every day. Ms. Halsey says, “One of our daily goals is to successfully work together and learn together. Most of our daily activities involve working and learning with friends. Whether you are playing in a pond with frogs and ducks, learning to match upper and lowercase letters, playing in dramatic play, building and creating with bristle blocks, or just simply reading… in any activity in the classroom, you are always working with a friend.”

Building relationships within the classroom is very important, and learning to cooperate can be as essential as learning your ABCs. Children in Ms. Halsey’s room learn about taking turns, sharing toys, and working together in a group, especially during sensory play and playing with the bristle blocks. Finding those moments to engage the children’s communication within their class family during the day will help build a safe, engaging learning environment for all students.


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This story is part of United Way of Southwest Virginia’s spotlight series highlighting five programs in our Virginia Quality network during the 2017 Week of the Young Child™, when we formally recognize the importance of early learning and early literacy and celebrate the providers who bring early childhood education to young children. Through these stories, you will see the investment these programs are making in the lives of tomorrow’s workforce – teaching them to create, learn, eat healthy, sing, dance, problem-solve, think, engage, and celebrate – and preparing them for the next steps in their journey through life in Southwest Virginia. To read other stories in this Week of the Young Child™ spotlight series, visit www.netnswvarelief.wpengine.com/week-of-the-young-child.

United Way of Southwest Virginia fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in Southwest Virginia because they are the building blocks for a good quality of life. Through an initiative-based cradle-to-career approach, United Way of Southwest Virginia is creating sustainable solutions to address the challenges facing tomorrow’s workforce. United Way convenes cross-sector partners to make an impact on the most complex problems in our region. Through collaboration with government, business, nonprofit and individuals, United Way innovates for positive, lasting social change. With a footprint that covers almost 15% of the state of Virginia, United Way of Southwest Virginia serves Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Giles, Grayson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington and Wise, and the cities of Galax and Norton. For more information about United Way of Southwest Virginia, visit www.UnitedWaySWVA.org.

Week of the Young Child™, sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), is an opportunity for early childhood programs across the country, including child care and Head Start programs, preschools, and elementary schools, to hold activities to bring awareness to the needs of young children. For more information and inspiration on how you can celebrate Week of the Young Child™, visit www.naeyc.org.