Early Education Center brings the pumpkin patch to campus

Pumpkins, preschoolers and pedagogy marked Grove City College’s upper Quad this week as little ones enjoyed a taste of fall at a pumpkin patch set up by Education majors.

Elementary Education students planned the seasonal craft project, science experiment and book reading for 3 to 5-year-old preschool students at the College’s Early Education Center. The Center is a place of learning for preschoolers that doubles as an opportunity for elementary education majors to work first-hand with pre-K classes.

Preschoolers saw a pumpkin “explode” as the result of a simple chemical reaction, raced around the Quad to find pumpkins hidden in the leaf-covered campus lawn and then decorated the gourds they grabbed.

“Just like we all have a different handprint, so do pumpkins,” Elementary Education major Julia Helmich ’21 told the kids as explained to how to dip their pumpkin in paint to make a pumpkin print – noting to keep the paint far away from clothing and teachers. 

The pumpkin patch was “the first of its kind” in the center’s 30-plus years of existence, according to Jolene Munson, director of the Early Education Center and professor of Education. Usually the pre-school students will visit a local pumpkin patch for a field trip, but this year they brought the field to campus and brought in more students to help with the tykes.

“This is wonderful because all of the Education Department can interact with the preschoolers,” Munson said.

Three of the students helping out were freshmen who are currently gaining required field experience for their major. Others were part of Lambda Epsilon Delta or LED, the elementary education honorary which recognizes juniors and seniors with a QPA of 3.15 or better. 

“I think it went really well. It’s hard to know with kids what they’ll like, but I think they had fun,” Helmich said.

Many of the preschoolers are from the Grove City community, but some come from surrounding towns like Slippery Rock. The center has a strong family base. “We get a lot of siblings through here, it’s like a tradition to come here,” Munson said.

The College’s Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education major was identified as the number two program in the United States by the education and test prep website, which looked at statistics from the U.S. Department of Education and examined unique programs, features and learning experiences offered at America’s non-profit public and private colleges and universities.

For high schoolers interested in studying Education Grove City College, come to Education Major Day on Nov. 16 at the College. To learn more and register, visit Education Major Day or gcc.edu/educationday.

Early Education Center brings the pumpkin patch to campus

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