TAPping into Rina Sclove’s experience with the Lower School

Megha Thomas, Features Associate

Volunteers are love in motion. It means the world to the Lower Schoolers when their TAP volunteer walks through their classroom door, ready to lend a helping hand, talk to them, and share their love every week. TAP (which stands for Teacher’s Assistant Program) gives Upper Schoolers the chance to volunteer in a Lower School classroom and assist younger students with their work. TAP is a time of the week that is eagerly awaited by the teacher of the class, the younger students, and the TAP volunteer.

This program provides a unique experience for all those involved. Teachers receive extra assistance in the classroom so more one-on-one help can be provided to students. High school students at PDS can take a leadership role in the classroom and aid younger kids with their classwork. Lower School students look up to and learn from their TAP volunteer, while the volunteers can gain just as much. This extraordinary experience creates a connection between the TAP volunteer and their students, and at the same time, creates a bond between the Lower and Upper School. This bridge truly shows that we are all connected as one PDS body, not divided between age groups. We all have the ability to share our stories in different ways, especially to the younger children to help cultivate their learning experience at PDS.

Rina Sclove, a freshman, is a TAP volunteer who visits Ms. Young’s fourth grade class once a week. She cherishes her time with the fourth graders. “I think my favorite thing is the relationships and the bonds between myself and my fourth graders. It’s just really nice to be able to connect with people whom you normally wouldn’t,” said Sclove. She acts as a mentor, helping students with math problems while sharing funny stories. Even outside of the classroom, they keep their bond alive when the students wave to Sclove and hug her as she walks by. Her TAP experience is felt throughout the week, but her time in the classroom is especially valuable. “It’s always the highlight of my week because it’s so nice and chill compared to the craziness of high school. It’s really nice to be able to go back and listen to a story during a story-time and see all the bright colors on the walls,” said Sclove.

While TAP is a fun time for the volunteer, it is also a productive and amazing experience. Rina Sclove and other TAP volunteers touch the lives of their teachers and students every day. When I walked into Sclove’s TAP classroom and asked about her, all the students’ eyes lit up. They all raised their hands because they were so eager to talk about her. Nina, one of the fourth graders in the class that Sclove TAPs for, said, “She’s very nice and helpful. She collaborates a lot with Ms. Young, so that really helps. We always get to know what’s going on when she’s around.We’re very excited when she comes!”

Emma, another girl in Sclove’s TAP class, said, “I think that she’s an awesome TAP student and that she really cares about people and helps them a lot.” All of the students proclaimed that Sclove was an amazing, nice, kind, helpful, and smart TAP student. Her little acts of help and kindness have had a significant impact on her students’ lives.