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Preschoolers watch field hockey game

After more than a dozen members of Cornell's field hockey team visited preschool classes at the Cornell Child Care Center to talk about their sport and about the importance of an active lifestyle, many of the preschoolers attended the team's Sept. 13 game at Marsha Dodson Field, where the Big Red defeated St. Francis (Penn.), 3-1. Photo: Lindsay France/University Photography.

Big Red field hockey team partners with pint-sized fans

Field hockey team members speak to preschool class

From left, Big Red field hockey team members Katy Weeks '17, Maria Florencia Rosselot '15 and Elizabeth Horak '17 visit a preschool class at the Cornell Child Care Center in early September. Photo: Julie Greco/Athletic Communications.

Big Red student-athletes are well known on campus and in the Ithaca community for their commitment to service. From raising money to providing hours of work for various causes, the wearers of the red and white are some of the best the Cornell campus has to offer.

Earlier this month, that service took the form of education, as 14 members of the Big Red field hockey team went to the Cornell Child Care Center to speak to four preschool classes -- approximately 60 children in all -- about the importance of an active lifestyle.

"Over the last five years, the Cornell Child Care Center and Cornell University have formed a wonderful partnership," says Patricia Sinclair, the center's director. "Working closely with Cornell Athletics has assisted us in fostering positive attitudes toward healthy living through experiences, activities and interactions with caring athletes. Early care and education teachers are in a unique position to influence children's physical fitness and promote an understanding of how food, exercise and healthy choices impact our lives.

Field hockey team members explain sport to preschool class

Field hockey team members Marisa Siergiej '16 and Shannon Berry '14 explain the game to a preschool class at the Cornell Child Care Center. Photo: Julie Greco/Athletic Communications.

"Partnering with the Cornell field hockey team has helped our preschool children see this in action: that if you take good care of your body it will work to your advantage physically, emotionally and mentally."

The team also gave the children a brief tutorial on the sport of field hockey before showing them some simple skills.

"Many of the kids were quiet at first, but once we started asking them questions about sports that they play, we learned that many of them were young athletes themselves, which was really exciting," says field hockey co-captain Carolyn Horner '14. "Afterward, we went outside to show them some stick skills and gave them an opportunity to play as well. It was an awesome afternoon."

The following week, the preschool classes took a field trip to Marsha Dodson Field to watch the Big Red defeat St. Francis (Penn.) Sept. 13.

Field hockey team members give lessons in the sport to preschool class

Field hockey team members give lessons in technique to the preschoolers. Photo: Julie Greco/Athletic Communications.

"The children at the game were in awe," says Sinclair. "They loved the atmosphere, cheering on their new friends and seeing the game in action. We are so fortunate to have formed such a great collaboration with Cornell Athletics."

Having the children attend the game was also a boost for the Big Red, who came from behind for the 3-1 victory.

"The highlight of this whole experience was seeing the kids at our game," adds Horner. "Their energetic 'Let's Go, Red!' chants, and hysterical halftime dance moves, carried us through the game and helped us capture our first win of the season. I hope [we] can continue this partnership in the future, because I can speak for all of my teammates when I say it was one of the most memorable games we have ever played on Dodson Field."

Related links:

Field hockey at Cornell

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