Early Childhood student legacy project gives new meaning to board games

By Sloane M. Perron, Marketing Communications Manager

Cindy Stebbins, an early childhood sophomore from Maine, caught the attention of students and teachers with her “Get Your Formation” event hosted at the Information Commons. Colorful tables, fun children’s games, and elaborate prizes, including a big-screen TV, attracted students, but the goal was to teach them MLA, APA, and Chicago styles of academic formatting.

Children’s games were given a new academic meaning as students worked to learn the proper citations. Students who completed all nine games were eligible to win the television grand prize.

“I definitely heard from students that they had a lot of fun with the games, that it was an interesting twist on childhood games that we all love to play, like Jenga, Connect Four and Twister, because in my opinion college students are just big kids,” Stebbins said, “So it just brought a part of childhood in a way that was also educational.”

“Get Your Formation” was the final part of Stebbins’ summer internship at the Anna Maria Writing Center, where Writing Center Director Dana Sheehan served as her supervisor. During his internship, Stebbins was tasked with creating a “legacy project”, a project that could still run and benefit the university even after Stebbins completed his internship or even graduated.

Stebbins spent the entire summer planning his legacy project and, in particular, wanted to engage freshmen who might need a refresher on citation formatting. As an early childhood student, Stebbins understands that people learn in different ways and wanted to incorporate that aspect into his project so that it would be accessible to everyone.

“I love games and I love writing, so this idea was born here,” Stebbins said.

Stebbins enjoyed the camaraderie of the Writing Center and credits Sheehan with providing her with professional skills and experiences that not only look impressive on her resume but have a tangible impact.

As a future educator, Stebbins hopes to use creative approaches, like her board games, to connect with children of all ages and learning abilities. In the world of education, where children are struggling to regain the academic momentum they lost during the pandemic, Stebbins thinks it’s important to recognize that there is no “one size fits all” for learning. Instead, she hopes to individualize the learning process and focus on student success.

Stebbins’ enthusiasm for the field of education is reflected in the fact that she is already employed part-time as a behavioral therapist at Positive Behavioral Supports Corporation and is a work-study student at the Writing Center. In addition to her busy career, Stebbins is also fully involved on campus. She is a member of the field hockey team, manager of the lacrosse team, and serves as the marketing chair for the PAC e-board while serving on the SGA board for the PAC.

“Never in a million years did I think this would be my summer. I mean, I was very shy, I stayed in my bedroom and didn’t go out. But I realized that this is a small campus and I was looking around, I was seeing that students had great opportunities. And I was like, I want to do that. That’s what I want to do with my college career. So I kind of stepped up during the second semester and said, ‘What can I do to make this happen?’” she said.

Stebbins decided to take every opportunity that Anna Maria presented to him while stepping out of his comfort zone.

“It taught me to put myself out there because you’re not going to accomplish anything if you don’t give it your best shot and you’ll never know until you try,” Stebbins said.

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