​Students Build Helping Tree as Part of New Library

Canadian Valley Technology Center’s Bambi Slimp (left) and Deborah White sit beside the Helping Tree, a new tool inside the child development center located at the school. Students from four programs across two campuses collaborated on the project, which was erected at the drop-off area at the development center.

May 26, 2017

EL RENO – Most people can recall a time in their early childhood when a parent dropped them off for the first time in unfamiliar surroundings.

Deborah White said that experience can be downright terrifying for young children. As the instructor in Canadian Valley Technology Center’s Early Care and Education program, White said the facilities are quite inviting.

The bright colors are attractive to young eyes. All the furniture in each room is age appropriate in size.

Still, something was missing, White said.

“Students enrolled in the program collaborated and decided to make the entry way to the school’s child development facility interactive and inviting.

Thus was conceived the idea for a “Helping Tree” that would be the focal point of the new Canadian Valley Parent/Children’s Library.

In order to display various resources within the library, students from four programs across campus designed, constructed, painted and attached a large tree-shaped bookshelf to the wall in the childcare drop-off area. Students fittingly refer to the bookshelf as the Learning Tree.

Programs contributing ideas and or labor were Auto Collision, Construction Trades, Early Care and Health Careers.

“Students learned about working together in collaboration and using the skills they have acquired here at the school to help each other,” White said.

The Helping Tree idea was hacked from a photograph for a similar item that sells for $3,000, White said. Upon installation, the drop-off area was instantly brightened.

“When you walk in, you will say, ‘What a fun place,’” White said. “It will draw the children in.

Resources offered on the Learning Tree include high-quality literature for classrooms and for parents to use and return. These include storytelling kits and parenting books.

“All the latest parent education materials on a variety of topics are available,” White said. “They will be used for many years to come.”

Proceeds for the materials are courtesy of two gifts made to the childcare facility in the aftermath of the May 2013 tornado, which destroyed the El Reno Campus. The childcare center functions as a working laboratory for students enrolled in the Early Care and Education program.

A gift of nearly $2,000 was provided by the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America

Southwest Region II peer group, which supports the mission of programs like Early Care and Education.

Another $1,000 gift was provided by Danny and Doris Hodges, who are the grandparents of the last two children to be picked up before the tornado hit.

“These people came to us and said, ‘You had a tornado, and we want to help,’” White said.

The El Reno Campus reopened in January 2017.

The library will create a lot of goodwill in our child development center, White said.

“We’ll continue the spirit of helping one another through the use of materials and the meaning decorations of this library.”

Also included within the drop-off area is a statue consisting of two bronze-like cupped hands. This project was conceived by Health Careers student Abbi Bos and was sculpted by CV Tech receptionist Alexis Graham.

The words Family, Career and Community are written on three rocks positioned within the hands. These are the first three words of the “FCCLA” (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) student organization for those enrolled in Early Care and Education.

Students in the Early Care and Education program are determined to write key events on additional rocks in celebration of life moments within their own families and those who bring their young children to the childcare center each day. Important events for students, staff and those in surrounding communities will also be celebrated.