Mary Randall Preschool: Laughter and Learning

Written by Victoria Barry

How often do college students get to build castles with wooden blocks or make snowmen out of shaving cream? I can happily say that I have recently done both. At Mary Randall Preschool, these and other similarly delightful activities are everyday occurrences. Play is the order of the day, and the children enthusiastically welcome college volunteers to join in their fun.

Each day (weather-permitting) beginsKiddos in the Snow outside. Some of the children’s favorite outdoor activities include the swing set and the giant sandbox complete with trucks and various digging tools. I cherish fond memories of helping giggling children swing back and forth on those swings. No matter how high you push them, they continually chant “higher, higher.” The preschool children’s imaginations soar even higher than their swing’s trajectories. Inside the classroom or on the playground, these children constantly make me laugh with their insightful and hilarious comments; it is difficult—even on the gloomiest of days—not to absorb some of the joy that these little hearts exude.

Catriona Kerwin, a junior English major, summarizes her volunteer experience at Mary Randall as being “Fun. Joyful. They give me energy.” As veterans of the “Dramatic Play” Area (a nook of the preschool reserved for dress-up), Catriona and I have passed many an hour attending balls, tea parties, and whatever else a 4-year-old mind can dream up. “I like when we dress up,” Catriona reflects, “They love the scarves and hats . . . making other people wear them.” If your imagination is not in shape, it may be initially challenging to relate to these children, but you will quickly adjust to their way of seeing the world: namely, as an adventure.

Tyler and OllieSilliness and laughter abound along with significant life experiences. The memories children create during this stage of their life shapes what kind of adults they will become. It is very rewarding to participate in such a crucial stage of children’s lives. Seeing them learn, grow, and create is a truly beautiful process. This is not to say that none of the days at the preschool are exhausting or that none of the children are stubborn; it is not always just fun and games. But their temper-tantrums are soon forgotten when they grab your hand and ask if you’ll play with them.

For more information about volunteering at Mary Randall Preschool, please contact Sonja Drews, Director of Mary Randall Preschool at (517) 439-0154 or [email protected].


Victoria Barry is a junior majoring in English with a minor in Classical Education. She participates in Hillsdale’s Catholic Society, volunteers at Mary Randall Preschool, and is the vice-president of the A.A. Milne Society.