A swarm of four-year-olds in the Dallas metroplex are in awe of the looming B-29 towering above them. Kids walking hand-in-hand down the runway-painted hallway, we heard exclamations of “WOW” and “AWESOME!” But when they walked into the hangar and seeing FIFI, our B-29, there were gleeful screams of excitement!
Last week we had over one-thousand Prekindergarten students experiencing what we call A is for Aerospace. Fifteen age-appropriate workstations introduced these tikes to aerospace careers in a very engaging, hands-on manner. Jobs from astronaut to pilot to ground marshall were included in creative play. Students got to role play these careers, while learning new vocabulary and skills.
At four-years of age, students are learning colors, shapes, the alphabet, and numbers to 10. They can write their name and can write simple sentences. A is for Aerospace taught and reinforced these skills in highly visual ways. For example, in an activity called “find your seat,” youngsters used a boarding pass to find their assigned seat using numbers and letters. A real-world skill is paired with the standards appropriate for the grade-level. And as our “flight attendant” volunteers welcomed these young travelers aboard, new vocabulary words were introduced, along with visuals to make them meaningful and memorable. Other activities introduced social studies concepts like landforms, but the students got to “be” the pilots flying around the landforms in toy airplanes.
Here at the NAEC, we provide kids aviation education and opportunities that are highly engaging. All activities align to Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). Of course, when your 30,000sqft hangar is host to a fleet of WWII vintage aircraft that still flies, it is easy to capture a student’s interest long enough to grow their knowledge and skill base. It is what we do every day here!