Interning at the Youth Life Foundation of Richmond (YLFR) has brought up numerous topics that I have learned about previously as a psychology major. For example, one of the topics we discussed in one of my development classes was how learning can be different for each individual child.
The kids that I have been working with are from the ages of 6-10 years old, which encompasses middle to late childhood. These students are actually bilingual in Spanish and English, or are learning to speak English. Since most of them live with parents that speak do not speak English, it’s hard for them in the school system. In their school, there are no bilingual teachers or anyone to translate the information to these students.
What is great about working at this nonprofit is that the two full time teachers are bilingual and during the school year, in addition to what they are learning in school, these teachers are targeting where the kids are and working with them to improve.
As I learned in my psychology classes there are numerous reasons why a child may not be catching up with the rest of their class. Even the students who are fully bilingual, may still have trouble in their current grade level. I have loved this internship is because I am working with the kids on subjects they do not understand and working with them at their own pace. For example, one of the kids I was tutoring in reading has trouble with double vowel words, so instead of moving on to the next set of words, we were working with the same words as the week prior so he can get better at that skill at his own pace.
Another concept relating to school that when students feel supported in their school, their attitude is generally better. At the Foundation, a lot of the kids had a great attitude about learning reading and math for five weeks out of their summer. This is because they are supported by this nonprofit and are successful in this setting. Since the teachers at the Youth Life Foundation of Richmond work with them at their own pace and work toward their academic goals, they don’t feel stressed out about coming to the learning center and are actually excited to learn.
On the other hand, as many of them have fewer resources in their actual school system, it is harder for these kids to be supported in that environment, but with YLFR, they obtain some of the skills necessary to conquer public school.