my capstone experience

Aubree Lynde '09, a Child Development major with Early Childhood Education certification from Brattleboro, Vt., discusses her Capstone project that taught children about weather. The Capstone project, which involves extensive research and presentation, is the culmination of each student's academic experience. Lynde's plans for life after Colby-Sawyer include graduate school for literacy instruction.

Describe your Capstone project and why you chose to focus on this subject.

My Capstone project was Exploring New Hampshire Weather. I chose this topic based on the children's desire to know more about different aspects of weather. The project took place during my student teaching and I was able to incorporate different activities and opportunities for the children based on their interests.

What research did you conduct for this project?

I needed to learn more about different areas children were interested in so I would be able to help them explore their topics for the research papers they wrote. Outside the classroom, I had to find activities and experiments to help children construct their own understanding of the concepts and areas they were interested in knowing more about. What the children wanted to learn about determined what information I had to find to bring to the classroom. I used technology and books as resources to assist me in the research portion of my Capstone.

What did you learn through your Capstone project, and in what ways was it a culmination of your learning experience at Colby-Sawyer?

Through my Capstone I learned how to implement multiple activities to support children's interests. When you are completing a long-term project with children you need to incorporate the project into the children's curriculum. It is important to include hands-on learning so children can experience and come to their own conclusions based on the materials provided. The Capstone project allowed me to bring together what I have learned at Colby-Sawyer and use all the knowledge I gained during my student teaching. This project allowed me to use the information I have gained at Colby-Sawyer and apply it to my work with children.

What was most fun and rewarding for you in the process of creating your Capstone?

Watching the children's excitement every time we would do an activity based on the long-term project! The best part of creating the Capstone was displaying the children's work in a formal presentation. I enjoyed standing back and looking at the final product. After I had completed the presentation I showed the children the pictures of my board and they were all so excited to see their work and know people at the college had come to look at their work.

What did you find most challenging and difficult about the project?

The most challenging part of the project was starting. I had to spend time observing and noticing what the children were interested in and present them with different ideas which they might want to explore during the semester. After the project began the children continued to want to know more about different things so it became more exciting.

What do you hope will be the lasting value of your Capstone project, both for you and others?

I hope that having done this project will foster more creativity and excitement in the children, and that they will explore their interests. For me, the lasting value would be looking back and applying the idea of a long-term project to my own career with children because it is valuable to their learning. For others, I would hope they would try to incorporate these types of projects with children if they work with them, or realize how much the students at Colby-Sawyer have learned at the college.