Dorothea Smith Celebrity Reader at the St. Charles Children’s Learning Center
Students attending the St. Charles Children’s Learning Center at the College of Southern Maryland were treated to a surprise celebrity reader March 2 as part of the national “Read Across America Day,” a celebration inspired by children’s author Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel’s birthday. Longtime Charles County educator, recipient of the Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award presented by The Washington Post and CSM Board of Trustees Chair, Dorothea Smith read Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham” to the center’s 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds.
“As a lifelong learner, I learned something new -reading to very young children is very different from my years reading to middle school students. I enjoyed seeing the young faces light up as I read to them. They made me feel so loved,” Smith said.
A graduate of Bowie State University with Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees, Smith is a retired educator, beginning her 30-year teaching career in 1965 in the Charles County Public Schools. She is a past recipient of the Charles County Teacher of the Year Award. A language arts-reading instructor of middle school students, Smith also held various positions on the executive board of the Education Association of Charles County and was the faculty representative to the teachers association for John Hanson Middle School.
Smith also read “Bounce,” by Doreen Cronin and Scott Menchin, a silly rhyming tale of what to bounce and what not to bounce that had CLC students giggling.
The St. Charles Children’s Learning Center was established to provide CSM students, faculty and staff, as well as community members, quality, child-centered care. The center enhances the lives of children, their families and the greater Southern Maryland community. The center, which opened in 2006 with 20 students ages 8 weeks to 4 years old, now offers care for more than a hundred students from ages 8 weeks to 12 years old.
The CLC has earned a Maryland EXCELS Level 3 rating by the Maryland State Department of Education and is in the accreditation process. Located on CSM’s La Plata Campus, the center offers 10,000 square feet of learning space including nine child-centered classrooms, a gymnasium and a prep kitchen. In addition, the center has its own private landscaped playground and access to the campus grounds.