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Pressman Academy ‘Gives a Hand’

Today I visited the Early Childhood Education Center at Pressman Academy in Los Angeles.  Angie Bass, Director of the Center, gave me a tour of the classrooms and school site – what an amazing place! There are nine preschool classrooms that are participating in the Give a Hand Classroom Project, each classroom is designing a large handprint that will be laminated and displayed in a Little Ripples classroom.  The handprints are at various stages and one can already see that they are going to be beautiful pieces of art.

The youngest two and three year old classrooms are beginning to understand and connect to students their age in other parts of the world.  The older classrooms are learning about how Darfuri refugees are a group targeted and treated unfairly by the people in charge.  We are also going to start generating parent awareness and engagement in the Little Ripples program.

There were so many inspirational classroom and play activities and materials that I saw at Pressman.  Similar to how we’ve been applying the Reggio approach to Little Ripples, the Pressman classrooms use the natural environment as a learning tool (pine cones, leaves, sand, etc.)  Angie also showed and explained how deep breathing and calming activities are used in the classroom.  As we walked and talked through the classrooms, I imagined our Little Ripples students being able to experience the same nurturing, creative, and loving energy as Pressman.

The final handprints will all be done in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait to see them!  You can learn more and participate in our Give a Hand Campaign here.


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Jennifer became passionate about international development and humanitarian work when studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, and leading youth performing arts workshops in one of the surrounding townships. After graduating from UCLA with a Masters in Public Health in Community Health Sciences, she taught adolescent reproductive health to high school students in South and East Los Angeles. She has also worked as a Research Associate at the UCLA Center for Health Services and Society, where she was able to foster an understanding of the community engagement and community resilience approaches, and hopes to incorporate these strategies in her work with Little Ripples. jennifer@iactivism.org


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