West Springfield High School Newspaper

The Oracle

Spartan Sprouts grow in child care class

Zobia Nayyar

Zobia Nayyar

Zobia Nayyar, Managing Editor

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On most orange days, adorable young children are found walking to the main lobby with oversized backpacks and massive grins on their faces. And no, they aren’t WS students.
WS has its very own preschool where high school students can take a two-period class to become student teachers in the Early Childhood Careers class run by Heather Sullivan.
“It’s fun being with kids for three hours a day; it’s a stress reliever and I like making them laugh,” said senior Sonal Kumar.
Spending three hours with kids is a nice break from the stress of AP classes and other activities going on inside and outside of school.
In order to teach these young minds and become a student teacher, one must fill out an application prior to the following school year. Refer to Sullivan for the application in the preschool rooms in the long hallway leading to the cafeteria.
“I take everything [from the application] and look at the answers from everyone and look at how much effort was put into the student answers,” said Sullivan. “I also take into account if a student has had discipline problems and to what extent and if they also have attendance problems.”
This October to June preschool operates with children with smiles on their faces and teachers who are more than happy to educate them.
“[My favorite job is] probably doing art lessons because it’s fun to see the kids get excited about learning stuff,” said junior Ashley Koehle.
The class schedule in which the student teachers rotate is divided into three groups: planning, teaching, and helping and the schedule rotates with every group of teachers. Each group plays a significant role in helping out the preschool and making sure the students understand the information being taught to them.
“You basically teach the kids about letters, what it starts with, how to pronounce it, and you help them draw [the letter],” said senior Nadeen Algharib. “You can be a teacher and teach either language arts, art, science or movement which is basically PE; the helping group basically just helps the kids do the lessons.”
Along with the curriculum being taught to the children, the teachers are also in charge of decorating the classroom. The room is decorated according to their weekly themes and snacks are made and designed according to each theme.
“I like doing snack and lesson bulletin because they’re the easiest and require the least amount of work,” said Algharib.
Sullivan and the students work hard to make the preschool a safe and fun environment for the 15 kids that come in every orange day. Parents seem pleased on the positive effects of the preschool and the hard work the student teachers put into the preschool.
“The thing I appreciate the most is the ratio of kids to the student teachers,” said parent Besan Alkhalillee. “The kids will probably never have that one on one mentoring in the years to come.”
The cost to send the children to the preschool is $350 for October to June, which is quite affordable since preschool costs on average $4,460 to $13,158 per year.
“[The preschool is] close to home and it doesn’t hurt that it’s also more affordable than other programs for kids that age,” said Alkhalillee.
Children learn and develop skills based on the people they surround themselves with as they grow up and WS students become one of the biggest influencers to the preschoolers.
“It’s like the kids see a glimpse of their future in the teenagers walking through hallways,” said Alkhalillee. “[My daughter] sometimes tells people she’s at a preschool in “something like a college”.”

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West Springfield High School Newspaper
Spartan Sprouts grow in child care class