Se Ri Pak visited Koreatown Youth & Community Center’s Children’s Center and spend some time with the kids and delivered her bag she played with during the 2012 U.S. Open with KYCC’s logo.
Learn a little more about the organization.
About Koreatown Youth & Community Center (KYCC)
The mission of the Koreatown Youth and Community Center, Inc. (KYCC) is to serve the evolving needs of the Korean American population in the greater Los Angeles Area as well as the multi-ethnic Koreatown community. KYCC's programs and services are directed toward recently immigrated, economically disadvantaged youth and families, and to promote community socio-economic empowerment.
About KYCC’s Children’s Center
Structure and Schedule
We have three preschool classrooms of 24 children. Each classroom has a head teacher, a teacher and a teacher's assistant. Our classrooms are mixed ages 3-5, and family advocates take care to evenly distribute newly enrolled children by age, gender and cultural diversity. During most of the day, all classrooms and the yard are open to the children. They are allowed to freely move throughout the classes and to take advantage of the different activities and environments that the teachers have to offer. During small group, large group, lunch time and naptime, children return to their home rooms where they can work more closely with their teachers and develop relationships with their peers. This structured time is important because it brings the same groups of children and teachers together to form bonds through routines, stories and conversations.
Most of our children come from non-English speaking families, and English is the language primarily used in the classroom. However, children are encouraged to speak in their native tongue, and this is supported by our Spanish and Korean speaking bi-lingual teachers. In an increasingly global society, we feel it is important for children to maintain strong ties to their native cultures as well as adapting to American customs.
Multi-Aged Scaffolded Learning
Our multi-age groups allow for scaffolded learning where younger children learn by imitating or following the older children. The interactions between peers differ from those between adult and child and can accelerate learning in ways that may not occur as quickly with a teacher. In turn, the older child learns to be more patient and helpful towards their younger friends, developing a sense of what it is like to be a leader and a mentor.
Our program believes a child's social and emotional development is very important. A child that cannot get along with others and that feels isolated cannot effectively learn. Teachers in our program facilitate positive ways to resolve conflicts using techniques of negotiation, compromise and dialoguing. They help the children to find the words and strategies to fight their own battles so that they can become socially confident. Children are not forced to share, but are encouraged to. Teachers try to ensure there are multiple versions of toys to avoid the initial conflict as well as offering alternative choices, employing timers and having sign-up sheets for overly popular toys and activities. It's all about learning how to control the environment, not the children.
Developmentally Appropriate Reading and Writing
Our philosophy on reading and writing is that children learn best when it is meaningful and important to them. Names are printed next to photos, and children are encouraged to write their name while signing up for various activities such as ringing the clean-up bell or setting up the lunch tables. Children are motivated to learn to write their name not because the teachers tell them to, but because they see the value in the printed word. Books in our libraries are rotated frequently, and story tapes are available all day. Reading and writing are also incorporated into everyday activities throughout the school. For example, cooking projects are accompanied by recipes, and teachers will make charts while doing science experiments. A child opening an ice cream stand may decide to make signs to put up. Another child may want to learn how to write a friend's name to make him a card. There are reading and writing opportunities everyday and everywhere, and it is our job to help the children find and explore them.
The Whole Child
Children are free to choose from a variety of teacher directed and child-initiated activities in different interest areas: sand and water exploration, dramatic play, libraries, listening stations, science, blocks, manipulatives, art, carpentry, music, movement, sensory, cooking, gardening and a variety of active outdoor play. All of these activities are designed to promote high self-esteem, independent learning, friendships and foster lifelong feelings of competence.
Located in the geographical center of Los Angeles just west of downtown, Koreatown is one of the most densely populated areas in the United States and the estimated median household income in 2008 was $27,438 – less than half of the state median, although the average household size of 3.3 is larger than the state’s average of 2.9. The neighborhood also has a much higher poverty rate than the rest of L.A. (23 percent of residents receive public assistance) and one of the highest rates of uninsured residents of the area. Its name reflects the preponderance of Korean-owned businesses, but Koreans comprise only 15 percent of the population; the vast majority (almost 70 percent) of its residents is Latino. Among adults, 44 percent have a high school level of education or less. Almost 24 percent of families are headed by single parents and more than 68 percent of residents who speak a language other than English at home are not fluent in English.