The Playdough drive/campaign we are running at the moment is specifically for Universal Pre-Kindergarten students. The complexities of COVID19 and education budget cuts have affected the way we teach and learn in Pre-K. Students cannot share materials that impose the expensive challenge of providing individualized learning tools and materials. Also, we have many parents who are choosing virtual learning options for their children. Therefore, we need to provide access to individual learning tools for our Pre-K students. The Boys & Girls Clubs recognizes its place in the community and as a Community Based Organization (CBO), which collaborates with multiple school districts. We are proud of our role in the educational ecosystem in the area. -that's when we started collecting playdough tubs for students to use as a learning tool, whether they choose the in-person learning option or the virtual one.
The possibilities for playdough play are limitless; it doesn't just evoke imagination; it strengthens muscles in little Pre-K students' hands. They will use these fine-motor skills later for handwriting, cutting, coloring, and much more. They also can use it to create the letters, numbers, and shapes that they are learning. Additionally, playing with playdoh is soothing and calming for students. It could be an excellent outlet for children to express their emotions or release anxiety, especially in such times where everyone has been exposed to COVID19 trauma in one way or another. Playdough is a fantastic tool for children to use while following their teacher in person and on a computer device. It also presents opportunities for discussion, descriptive vocabulary development, sharing, and problem-solving.
For the past 20 years, the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Capital Area have been increasing the accessibility for expanded learning programs in the Capital Area, including the Universal Pre-Kindergarten program in collaboration with school districts eligible for NYS Universal Pre-Kindergarten funding. Our program has been growing exponentially. In the past couple of years, we have expanded beyond just serving Pre-K classrooms in six schools at City School District of Albany, our oldest and largest collaborating relationship. We currently collaborate with three schools at Cohoes City School District and one school at Watervliet City School District.