MANSFIELD, Ohio - A group of students from The Ohio State University at Mansfield (OSU-M) is preparing two vacant rooms at the Springmill Learning Center. The rooms will host kindergarten through third grade students and is part of the Learning Center's strategy to assure its maximum, most efficient, and sustainable use.

According to Meg Strong, an employee of OSU-M, the west wing of the building currently has no available rooms. Therefore, she said the plan is to start reconstructing the rooms so they can use them for education.

The cohort of seven students include:  Andrea Murphy, Eastly Dotson, Morgan Aleshire, Sierra Williamson, Lindsay Sutt, Chelsey Trout, Jordan Eichorn. The group is undertaking the project as part of their Service Learning Project in Dr. Christian Winterbottom's pedagogy class at OSU-M.

“Our class is technically done but there are some of us who are volunteering our time. We want to see it finished,” said Murphy, an OSU-M fourth year student.

Each classroom implements Common Core standards for mathematics and science. The room nearest completion is themed “Under the Sea.” On the walls are smiling fish and bubbles filled with basic math problems and equations. Some of the artwork was done free-handed, but most was traced from a projected image. The second room will boast a meteorology theme.

“I learned that I cannot paint, so they've been having me do stuff that I can't mess up,” said Aleshire with a laugh.

The cohort's biggest hope is to be able to see the children's reactions when the room is finished and used. The group of aspiring educators is also enthusiastic about the opportunity to work on developing curriculum for the class.

Murphy said she is excited about that. She is a non-traditional student in her senior year and has four children of her own, which has contributed to her lifelong love for children. Her goal is to to identify twice-exceptional children in schools to help them receive the proper education they require.

“Twice-exceptional kids are ones that are both gifted and have a disability. My son is twice-exceptional,” explained Murphy.

The chance to develop curriculum will give Murphy the experience she needs to achieve her dream when she graduates.

The cohort said their greatest needs are supplies for the new classrooms. Williamson's parents donated many supplies initially, for which she and the group are thankful.

However, other supplies are still needed, including:  Pints of brightly colored paints; painting supplies; bulletin board items (ocean theme, science cycles, mathematics, etc.); contact paper in bright colors; tissue paper of assorted colors; plastic storage baskets and bins; school supplies such as markers, pencils, crayons and colored pencils; dry erase markers and erasers; mini white boards; window clings (oceans, woodlands, jungle); and gift cards for Home Depot, Lowes or Wal-Mart to purchase needed items

Another plan for the building as a whole includes bringing in students and parents for a “Science Saturday,” which Strong said will begin in January.

“It will go through May and we'll have it once a month,” she said.

For more information on how to donate to the Springmill Learning Center, visit their website or call 419-525-6348. They also have a Facebook page.

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