MC now enrolling area children for Project Lead program

Maryville College is again inviting area children and youth to participate in a program that will strengthen their leadership and citizenship skills. “Project Lead” is seeking 15 third- and fourth-grade students, as well as 15 sixth- and seventh-graders from Maryville, Alcoa, Blount County Schools and those from a home-school environment.

Using the popular theories of Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University, children will participate in workshops focusing on self-identity, communication, conflict management, diversity and leadership using creative activities from art, theatre, physical recreation and language.

Coordinated and led by Maryville College faculty, staff and students, this spring’s program builds upon success from the previous four semesters. Increasing the program’s diversity is a goal for this semester’s sessions. In turn, international students from the College will be more involved with the program and minority students are encouraged to register.

The third- and fourth-graders are invited to campus for seven Thursdays, 3:30-5 p.m., beginning Feb. 14 and ending April 3. The sixth- and seventh-graders are invited to the campus for seven Mondays, 3:30-5 p.m., beginning Feb. 11 and ending March 31.

Parents can download a detailed schedule of the semester’s lessons and a registration form by searching “Project Lead” on the College’s web site,

In addition to benefiting area children, the program helps Maryville College students, in particular those studying child development, psychology of adolescence and group facilitation, according to Dr. Ariane Schratter, associate professor of psychology and one of the Project Lead faculty supervisors.

“With Project Lead, our students have the opportunity to put theory into action. They take what they have learned in the classroom and apply those concepts directly to a real-life population,” said Schratter.

Maryville College professors from various disciplines and faculty/student supervisors work closely with group facilitators to ensure that all workshop material is developmentally appropriate and meets program-based goals.

“Supervision and safety are definitely the greatest priority,” Schratter emphasized. “Our student supervisors are trained in safety and communication skills, and the children are never unsupervised. There is nearly a 1-to-1, child-to-leader ratio.”

This spring’s program, funded in part by Maryville College’s Center for Strong Communities, is being offered to parents at no cost.

Pre-registration is required and must be made as soon as possible before the first session date for each age group. For more information or to register a youth, please contact Schratter at 865-981-8272 or Dr. Kathie Shiba, associate professor of psychology, at 865-981-8270.

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