PowerTech America Inc. commits $40,000 to Auburn’s Early Childhood Summer Enrichment Program

AUBURN UNIVERSITY – PowerTech America Inc. has pledged $40,000 to the College of Education’s Early Childhood Summer Enrichment Program at Auburn University. PowerTech America, a unit of Seosan, Korea-based Hyundai PowerTech, manufactures automatic transmissions for both the on-site Kia plant as well as other U.S.-based Hyundai plants.

The six-week summer enrichment program, offered by the College of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Teaching, was developed to give students ages three to eight academically enriching experiences during the summer. Each six-week session is based on a specific theme and provides instruction in English language arts, math and science. The program also helps undergraduate students learn about the art of teaching in a classroom during the summer.

“The gift from PowerTech will enable the program to dramatically enhance its ability to provide a leading-edge laboratory experience that will impact the local community and early childhood teaching quality in the region as we train teachers in research-based principles of child development and early learning,” said Sean Durham, an assistant professor in Curriculum and Teaching and the program’s director. “In addition, the gift will help fund long needed child-sized furniture and materials to make this outreach and practicum a higher-quality experience for the children and university students we reach.”

The mission of the Summer Enrichment Program is to continue the education of young children by allowing independent discoveries through hands-on activities. The program is not a traditional summer school housed in a classroom setting; instead, the program is modeled after constructivist theory in which the educator’s role is to coach, moderate and suggest while at the same time to allow students room to experiment and ask questions.

In celebration of the program’s 25-year anniversary, this year’s theme was “Our Amazing Auburn” with a focus on Auburn’s historic campus. The children conducted in-depth studies of the trees and buildings that make up the campus community through field trips, observations and data collection and technology resources. Their studies culminated with several projects emerging, including a large tree sculpture built from art and natural materials and several replicas of campus landmarks made from recycled materials. The tree and building studies were facilitated by curriculum resources granted to Durham by Teaching Strategies LLC, publishers of The Creative Curriculum for Preschool.

The Early Childhood Summer Enrichment Program is an outreach of the Department of Curriculum and Teaching and simultaneously functions as a practicum for university students in early childhood education offering students an opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with young children and learning curriculum development skills alongside their university coursework. Angela Love, an associate professor in curriculum and teaching, coordinates the early childhood teacher licensure program.

Charitable gifts from corporations and foundations – as well as those from alumni and friends – in support of Auburn University are made through the Auburn University Foundation. To make a tax-deductible, charitable donation to Auburn, visit www.auburn.edu/giving, or learn more about the full scope of philanthropic opportunities that can benefit the university at develop.auburn.edu/how.

For more information on the program, go to www.education.auburn.edu/outreach/sep.

Contact: Sean Durham, College of Education, (334) 844-8274 (rsd0007@auburn.edu),
Joel Kobzeff, (jlk0008@auburn.edu),
Mike Clardy, Office of Communications and Marketing, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)