WRV students, from left: Emma Records, Kaitlyn Abrams, Taylor Brashear and Madison Koenig.
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The Early Childhood Education students at White River Valley have truly enjoyed being part of the program. They worked hard in and out of the classroom. They’ve studied career paths, developmentally appropriate practices, curriculum design, the learning environment and positive relationships. They then applied these studies to working in the elementary.
Here is what Kaitlyn Abrams had to say about the experience:
“At the beginning of the year I was determined I was going to become a physical therapist. Fast-forward eight months, I have completely changed my mind and want to go to school to be an elementary teacher. Looking back at the start of the year, I was beyond nervous to go to the elementary and take on the responsibility of caring and teaching for children but now I could not imagine doing anything else. I have loved spending every day with them and making lessons for them to do. As I was creating this portfolio I was looking at the reflections of the activities and I didn’t find one where the children weren’t excited to participate in the activity. I also paid close attention to how each activity allowed the children to work on a different areas of physical, intellectual, emotional or social development. In my first lesson, the art activity, the children focused mainly on physical development because they used a lot of their fine motor skills. By the end of the project they were able to attach each end of the strip of paper by themselves and it wouldn’t fall apart, this shows that they obviously gained something out of the activity. In my second activity, the storytelling lesson, they focused on intellectual development. During this activity the children had to listen to me read ‘George Plays Baseball’ and place baseballs on a picture of George whenever I said his name. This strengthens their multitasking ability and increases their intellectual development. The third activity I performed was a writing activity. The children were instructed to write ‘All About Me’ books and then tell their classmates about themselves. This enhanced their emotional and physical development because they are recognizing sense of self, such as what they look like, who they are related to and what their interests are.
My fourth activity was math, I brought in brownies and they found the area of them then cut them into fractions. This advanced their intellectual development because they had to multiply parts of the brownie and it tested their knowledge. The next activity, science, focused on intellectual and social development. During this activity we created catapults where the children were paired in groups of two, so they had to communicate with their partner and figure out the right way to get the catapult to shoot. This also tested their engineering knowledge, so it strengthened their intellectual development by teaching them about the making of catapults.
The last activity that I taught was social studies. My lesson plan was over the holiday Arbor Day. This taught the children the importance of trees, which increased their intellectual development and also worked on their physical development from the follow-up activity we did. In the follow-up we made hand trees where they painted their hand brown for the trunk of the tree and their fingertips green for the leaves, therefore increasing the physical development of them. These lesson plans have helped me interact with children better and have given me a new perspective in the way I teach them and I can’t wait to see how I use them in my future as a teacher.”
Here is what Madison Koenig had to say about the experience:
“Being able work with kids daily was truly an eye-opening experience as I witnessed light bulb moments, tears of joy, holiday parties and even some rough days. I have watched every individual child grow in different aspects throughout the year, which will always be kept close to my heart. At the beginning of the year, multiple students seemed to be shy and modest, especially around me. Now, I can successfully say that almost all of them have blossomed into the most precious social butterflies, as I always get greeted by a swarm of hugs each time I enter a classroom.
Whenever I was fortunate enough to be able to do a lesson plan with the students, I even received the opportunity to watch their desire to learn progress as the year went on, and they anxiously waited for the day when they knew I would be stepping into the teacher’s place for an hour. One of my favorite parts of teaching a lesson was seeing their gears turn with curious minds as they challenged themselves to do their very best on the activity every single time.
As the end of the year is soon approaching, I realized that each child has taught me how to love to the best of my ability, listen with the greatest attention, observe the tiniest details and laugh whole-heartedly with passion. The Early Childhood Education resources that have been given to me will be of extreme significance as I continue my passionate studies in working with children. I will forever cherish these remarkable students and honor them always in my heart.”
Now we will hear from Emma Records:
“Taking Early Childhood Education my junior year really opened my eyes. It made me ten times more confident in my decision to become an early childhood educator and made me realize that I can make a difference in a students educational career, even if I don’t have the title of ‘teacher’ yet.
Being able to go shadow and assist teachers at WRV Elementary School gave me the experience I needed in order to see what my own future classroom setting could be like.
I was able to witness physical, intellectual, emotional and social milestones happen right in front of me, which was so amazing to see!
Working with Preschool-Third Grade was a very beneficial experience to me. It let me see first-hand that no two students are the same and that everyone processes and experiences things differently. All of my host teachers at the elementary school kept me very busy and involved with their classes. I was taught how to grade homework and enter those grades into a grade book. I was also given time to plan my own lessons, and do those with each of my host classes. The lessons I made were based off of the State of Indiana’s Elementary Standards.
Being able to be a part of this class was the highlight of my junior year.”
And now Taylor Brashear’s reflection on the experience:
“Being in Early Childhood Education class, I was able to gain knowledge about children’s milestones, meal preparations and lesson planning. The child’s brain develops the most during the first three years, then one is responsible for helping them reach milestones after that at different ages.
While the child’s brain is developing during the course of those three years, it helps them grow and being able to remember thing more easily and help them learn about things throughout the course of their life. Studying in the class ‘Early Childhood Education,’ I learned how to make lesson plans, be patient with the kids in the classroom and even how to deal with problems that may occur.
For most of spring semester the class studied art, reading, storytelling, science, social studies and math lessons in two-week intervals. For one week the class will learn about the activity structure about the topic that week then the next week, being able to design our own lesson plan and present it to our grade assigned. Learning about children is a great opportunity to picture how they grow and develop so quickly. Being in the classes with them from the beginning of the year to the end of the year I can definitely see a big change from how they are understanding better and even their appearance. Some people may think going in Early childhood education is tough and very exhausting, but to me it is one great opportunity.
Learning about the young kids is fun and they are definitely really outgoing. They develop very fast up to age three but even after that age they continue to grow faster than adults. The kids got such a great opportunity out of my lesson plans. Not only did they enjoy them but they managed to learn a lot. Throughout the course of teaching kids every two weeks during the spring semester was such an amazing time. Lessons being taught in early education tend to be hands-on activities for the most part. Most lessons involve storytelling, educational games, arts, crafts, exercise and even developing their knowledge. Young children are very different from older students, so make sure to be patient. Every kid I managed to work with was very happy at the activities.
One group, during the science lesson ‘sink or float’, they were all entertained on dropping the objects in the water and their reactions were so great. Some kids went ‘whoa’ and some of time went ‘wow, I thought it was going to float, not sink.’
I gained so much out of working with the kids. It was such a great experience and I can’t wait to be able to go to college for elementary education. Kids open my heart and teaching and working with them is such a blessing. Yes, it can get to where your patience gets low but it’s worth it.”
I am so pleased to have this program at WRV and thankful to LeAnne Kelley, WRV HS principal, and Amy Ruxer, WRV HS counselor, for all the support they provided to get the program going. I am also very grateful for Jill Staggs, WRV elementary principal, and the elementary teachers for hosting us the past two years.
Liz Tharp, Early Childhood teacher for Little Paws Preschool, states
“These students come into my classroom and observe and learn what is involved in the preparation for a preschool program. They interact with the students and get to know how my program works.”
It is a great way to work towards a career pathway. The course ends with the PrePAC Certification exam, an industry-recognized Pre-Professional certification created by the American Association of Family and Consumer Science. Three of the four ECE students earned their certificates. This course can lead to employment or further studies.
This year, Rachel Lockaby, WRV ECE 2018 graduate, came to visit with the class. She is attending Ivy Tech for two years and will then transfer to Indiana State University to pursue Elementary Education with an enrichment in science. She has really enjoyed Ivy Tech and stated that the ECE program at WRV really helped prepare her for the college coursework. Rachel aspires to come back to Greene County, and hopes to work at WRV.
My hope is that this program will continue to train and prepare our future educators.
Betsy Misner has been the Family and Consumer Science, formerly Home Economics, teacher at White River Valley for over a decade. Her motivation is helping students to strive for strong, happy, healthy families and providing career pathways. Check out more of what is happening in the classroom by following her on Twitter: WRVFACS@BetsyMisner