Graduation from TCU is a day many students wait at least 22 years for, but for some of the littlest Horned Frogs, that day comes sooner.In June 2006, the KinderFrogs School graduated seven children, its largest class since the school began in 2000.
KinderFrogs is a laboratory school located within the School of Education. It provides educational services for children who have Down syndrome and other developmental delays.
Although seven children may not seem like many, the school usually graduates one per year. KinderFrogs has grown from 20 students last year to 30 students this year; the number of teachers has increased from seven to 12.
Sam Deitz, dean of the School of Education, said the school is growing because it is unique and caters to children with special needs.
“The reason the school was created was to help TCU students do their jobs better,” said Deitz.
Many of the students who help at KinderFrogs are in the School of Education, as well as from other departments, such as those within the College of Health and Human Sciences.
There are also students who volunteer their time to help with the KinderFrogs program. Many students who volunteer have various assignments from different classes or volunteer for community service purposes.
Ryan Huey, a junior biology major, said volunteering with the school is a great way to put things in perspective and students do not realize they can volunteer any day.
“And it’s also a great way to get back into the real world,” Huey said.
Marilyn Tolbert, director of the KinderFrogs School, said she has seen tremendous growth in the amount of volunteer help since she came to the school in 2003.
“During this past school year, we logged over 3,000 volunteer hours,” Tolbert said.
One of the programs within the KinderFrogs School is the L.E.A.P. program, which is designed to prepare older children for public school.
Kristen Adams, the KinderFrogs teacher in charge of the L.E.A.P. program, spoke with other kindergarten teachers to form an understanding of what skills children need to have before entering a public kindergarten class.
Adams said the Fort Worth Independent School District stresses having respect for others and maintaining a longer attention span while participating in group activities. KinderFrogs also aims to help students develop social, independent and mechanical skills, as well as developing self-confidence.
Adams said she saw a lot of growth in the children over the year.
“By the end of the year, when I would offer to help them, they would say ‘nope, nope, I’ll get it myself,'” Adams said.