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TCC kids celebrate the Olympic Games

They wave homemade Olympic torches and greet an imaginary crowd during Opening Ceremonies. Flags from every country decorate their classroom, and an oversized billboard shows off examples of sports, including pole vaulting, soccer, equestrian and hurdles.

Welcome to the TCC Child Development Lab’s summer camp, themed for the Summer Olympics, which begins July 27th in London. The three-week summer program for preschoolers has allowed campers to build self-esteem through daily opening and closing ceremonies focusing on friendship and sportsmanship. They’ve enjoyed international music and food, created flags and learned to say “hello” in other languages.

“We focus on different gross motor skills,” says lead teacher Rachel Sciretti, noting she and the staff let the children be the guides when exploring interests. Tennis was an unexpected hit among the kids as was soccer.

“We’ve even had our own medal ceremony,” Sciretti says.

Each child received a medal for a special quality such as patience and creativity.

Children have also learned about circles given the connection to the Olympic rings and have made drawings saying, “If I played in the Olympics, I would do…..”

While the camp ends at the end of July, the Child Development preschool, which received a 4-star rating from the Virginia Star Quality Initiative, will begin with the start of fall classes on Aug. 27. Students majoring in Early Childhood Development intern at the preschool for credit.

Rebecca Funderburk is completing her internship at the summer camp.

“I like the interaction between the students and the teachers,” she says. “The teachers are so willing to incorporate the ideas the children have.”

Funderburk said when rhythm sticks were introduced at the camp, instead of making music, the kids created letters of the alphabet.

Student Sara Sneddon also wrote an Olympic song the children learned called The 14 Days of the Olympics, sung to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas.

The verse starts with:

On the first day of the Olympics

My family went to watch

One runner holding up a flaming torch

Funderburk said she would love to see the children’s faces at home as the Olympics unfold over the next two weeks.

“I know they’ll see a connection,” she says. “I think they’ll be excited when they see some of the things they’ve done in the classroom on TV.”

Fall program sessions are either two, three or five days of week. For more information or to schedule a tour of the Child Development Lab, call (757) 822-7282.