ArticlesBlog

Grace Koopmans ECE Founder

Grace Koopmans ECE Founder


I started in the summer of ’69, and I ended in 1985. So I was just here 16 years. When the building was being built, the Early Childhood
Education building, they call it some other name. But when the lab school was made, I had to be there
that summer. I would go everyday to see how it was progressing. And one day I remember I said to somebody who was
doing the construction, actually doing the electricity, I said, “That outlet doesn’t belong there, it belongs on
this other wall.” And he says no, in the plan it’s right here where I put it.
And I said,” Would you please go get the plan?” And so he did, and I said, “You see, it’s right here in this other wall.” And as I turned around and left, I heard him say to his co-worker, “I had no idea that a
woman could read blueprints.” (Laughs) I was my own publicity person. I went to the newspapers and got the publicity. I wrote the articles sometimes. I said, “Hey, come take a picture, I’m going to do this.”
So, it’s wonderful to see what they’ve accomplished. I think one thing that makes it unique, is perhaps the
practicality that is built into the program. So that when students graduate, they know how to read
a book to a child, they know how to choose a book, they know how to present finger-paint to a child. There was a need for the program. There were lots of daycare
centers, lots of nursery schools in the area. And I knew how much they needed training, and I remember the first day of advising, and so all the faculty were there ready to advise their students, and there was a line that
went clear out the door at my chair and nobody at the other chairs because that’s how
eager people were and how hard I had recruited. I think I’m most proud of the lab school, and the outdoor
play area that we developed because it is so far and above anything I’ve seen. The
program still emphasizes the whole child philosophy. It’s not just the intellectual side of the child that’s important,
its the physical side, the intellectual side, the emotional side, and the social side. You want that whole child developed,
ans that’s what needs to be done during the early years. Well I’m very proud they now have a four year degree.
There was so many students who could not afford to go on to a four year school. I think I was truly blessed to get to have this opportunity
to do what I did here at the college. To be able to set up a program the way I was able to do it.
Even though it was hard, it was hard work, but it was very rewarding. And the rewards are seeing the
changes in people’s lives and knowing that those students are going to go on and change lives lives of other people.
And that is what makes it so worthwhile to have been here.

Comment here