Keystone STAR 4 program helps Dylan break out of shell and shine
When Dylan S. toured Tiny Tots Child Development Center in the spring of 2009, he was an extremely timid young boy who tried to hide behind his father. That is until he saw a fireman’s coat hanging in the play area of one of the classrooms, which piqued his interest. Then he noticed a child playing a learning game on the computer. Again, his interest was piqued. By the end of his tour, he shyly answered “yes” when asked if he thought he would like to go to school there.
When it came time to actually attend class the following September, Dylan wasn’t so sure. He was still very timid and would ask his mom, “why do I need to learn to write my name, won’t you do it for me?”
Circle time, letter days, singing songs, gym time, and playing games came next. Field trips to the pumpkin patch, pizza shop, and gymnastics studio meant learning outside the classroom. And cannot forget the fireman’s visit and family night at the park. Each of these made Dylan enjoy school a little more each day. But more importantly, each helped Dylan develop a desire to learn and also help others learn. He would try to emulate his teachers, Miss Ruth and Miss Pam, through pretend play both at school and home. The teachers gave Dylan a platform to grow and show his classmates what he had learned. He began to thrive even more, especially after Miss Ruth and Miss Pam encouraged him to teach his friends how to play soccer. This may seem like a simple gesture, but it helped Dylan realize that we learn from helping other learn.
Dylan also learned very important lessons on empathy and acceptance through his classroom at Tiny Tots. His class was comprised of students from different parts of Beaver County with varied abilities, both physical and mental. While they may have looked different or be able to do different things than he, the kids in his class were just his friends, nothing more, nothing less.
During Dylan’s second year, he began to stutter and have some difficultly with certain words and sounds. His teacher suggested that he be evaluated by a speech therapist. Dylan was enrolled in speech lessons once a week. He began to slowly annunciate his words more clearly and thus developed a new sense of self.
Over his two years at Tiny Tots, Dylan went from being this shy little boy to what his current Kindergarten teacher has described as a natural leader with a great yearning to learn, who can write his name quite nicely. It was only through the supportive guidance and adaptive teaching styles of the staff at Tiny Tots that Dylan was able to make such a transition. This is why Dylan Scheel is a Keystone STARS Shining STAR!
Nominated by Ruth B., Dylan S.’s teacher at Tiny Tots Child Development Center, Beaver County