WORLAND – Since mid-January students at the Worland preschool wake up on Monday, Wednesday and Friday filled with excitement because they are going to spend part of the morning with the Worland High School World of Children class learning the alphabet.
"They get mad when it's not their day because we have two groups which alternate. We are here (high school) Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so sometimes they are here twice a week and sometimes only once a week. It's a real bummer to them when it's not their day," Worland Preschool teacher/assistant Misty Robertson said. "They really look forward to it and are possessive of their high schooler," she added.
"We start about mid-January and then we end around the end of March. It takes a little bit more than a full quarter to do it all. We start with the letter A and then we go through the alphabet. Next week we will have V, W and then XYZ will be all on the same day," World of Children teacher Brenda Trippel said.
The high school students are paired up with one or more preschoolers and through creative projects, of which the high schoolers have created themselves, teach each of their preschoolers a different letter each day. "Today is U so they (high schoolers) have unicorn projects, underwater projects and I saw there is an umbrella project. One (project) is a U but they are putting the United States flag on it. They (high schoolers) have so really creative ideas," Robertson said Friday.
Working with the high schoolers helps prepare the preschoolers for kindergarten by working on their fine motor skills and listening to authority figures. "It helps get them ready to move past preschool to where they are listening to kindergarten teachers and paras and any other teacher authority. It just gives them a chance outside of the preschool, somewhere else to be listening to a teacher authority," Robertson stated.
The high schoolers, who have been studying child development all year, are able to put their knowledge to use while teaching the preschoolers. According to Trippel the high schoolers learn what is developmentally appropriate for the age group, how to guide children to do what you want them to do and discipline techniques. "A number of students who take this class either know that they are interested in becoming teachers or find out that they are after taking the class," she said. "It's a really good program and gives the students lots of hands-on experience," she added.
Whether or not the students in the World of Children class decide to work with children in their adult life, they are also learning life skills that will help them succeed in the workplace. "They learn what it's like to plan something, to prepare for it, and to make sure they have all the necessary materials. They learn about responsibility. I have some kids who might not come to school otherwise. They will come when they have their preschoolers because they know that the kids are counting on them. So it definitely helps them develop responsibility," Trippel explained. It also teaches the students time management, as far as getting ready in a certain amount of time, she added.