Having a university in a town can result in more interaction between students at all educational levels. Regardless of age or grade level, this has led to a family feel outside of K-State and throughout Manhattan, Rosie Mitchell, director of the K-State Center for Child Development, said.
There are between 60-80 K-State students employed at the center who work primarily as support for the teachers, who help K-State students build teaching and leadership skills, Mitchell said.
The teachers build connections with the children by allowing them to feel more involved with both teachers and students, Mitchell said. Through the involvement, the children have fun learning and want to keep doing so, therefore showing them the importance of education, Mitchell said.
Kayla Yost, junior in elementary education and teacher aide at the center, said working there is a learning experience. She said her connection with the children helps her better understand her major and builds a more positive experience for her at K-State.
The interaction between the teacher aides and children provides K-State students with a break from their usual routine and shows that “college kids feel more happy” when given this opportunity to connect with younger children, Mitchell said.
children improve their relationships with the college students, they become more playful and involved with the
program, Mitchell said.
In addition to working at the Center for Child Development, K-State students are also able to work as teacher aides in the high school.
“I see it as a benefit (to the high school students),” Dustin Duntz, Manhattan High School counselor, said.
Seeing college students working as aides gives high school students insight on the amount of effort put toward a degree, Duntz said. Because of the interaction between college and high school students, he said high school students get more exposure to college life, which can encourage them to attend K-State in the future.
Duntz said the program also provides easy access to K-State, which allows high school students to be more comfortable with the campus life. He said high school students gain insight about what college life is like by being able to go on campus and see students carry on their responsibilities at the college level. These are some factors that help influence Manhattan High School graduates to attend K-State after high school, Duntz said.
“A large majority (of high school students) have a great experience in college,” Duntz said.
KaZoua Lo, sophomore in anthropology and graduate from Manhattan High School, said during her years at the high school, the students, herself included, did not generally think much of the college students who
worked there as teacher aides. She said there is
constant exposure between students at every grade level at Manhattan High School, so students do not think much of each other because these interactions are expected.
Lo said she remembers the high school events where students went to the elementary school to do activities
with the younger children. The middle school had tours
of the high school for incoming freshmen and also held practices
for the middle school track and field team at the high school. The high school
team, on the other hand, ran around K-State’s campus for
practices, Lo said.
Lo said she and her friends felt very
anxious before going to K-State because the idea of college in general made them feel a little nervous.
“We were all anxious to get life started and that’s when
life felt redundant, but when the semester started everyone went into
their own direction,” Lo said.
Lo said she and her friends have now seized
many opportunities related to their majors at K-State. What stands out to her now, she said, is how the town has so much interaction between students of all
ages, creating the family feel K-State is known for.