East Hartford High School offers nursery school program

By Corey AmEnde - Staf Writer
East Hartford - posted Fri., Sep. 27, 2013
The nursery school program at EHHS begins on Oct. 22.  Photos by Corey AmEnde.
The nursery school program at EHHS begins on Oct. 22. Photos by Corey AmEnde.

East Hartford High School is once again offering a nursery school program to residents with young children. The program has been around for more than 20 years, but took a brief hiatus last year.

The nursery school is offered for two sessions this school year, with the fall session starting on Oct. 22 and running for eight weeks. The nursery school is open to children between 3 and 5 years old and is held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9:15 to 10:45 a.m. at the high school. There is a $30 fee for each student and each child must have had a physical within the last year.

A unique aspect about this nursery school is that high school students are actively involved in planning and teaching the lessons to the pre-schoolers. The high school students are all enrolled in Mora Martin’s child development class, “Children: The Early Years.”

“My high-schoolers have an opportunity to put theory into practice,” said Martin. “So when the children come in, we have lesson plans that are appropriate for pre-schoolers.” There are two groups of high school classes that take part in teaching the nursery school. In total, there are about 40 high school students between Martin’s two classes.

When the nursery school is in session, there will be four students that help teach the class each day. Two of the students are the teachers for the day, while the other two students act as teachers’ aides. The high school students rotate the responsibilities of being a teacher. When they are not teaching a class, they are preparing lesson plans for an upcoming class that they will teach.

“For kids that want to go into teaching, especially early childhood education, it gives them real life experiences; and most of the kids find that this is not as easy as they think,” said Martin. “They think they’re going to play with the children, and they’re still playing, but there are structured activities that we’re working on with the pre-schoolers.”

Part of the structure of the program includes weekly themes around which the high school students build their lesson plans. Martin said her students are discussing family as a theme for the first week and autumn for the second week.

Michelle Vigue, the department head for career and technical education at East Hartford High School, said students who take the child development class tend to gain a deeper appreciation for their teachers because they get a sense of what goes into being a teacher. Vigue said the class is also a great opportunity for students to gauge their interest in pursuing child development as a career. “Some may learn that education is not for them, and that’s just as valuable as learning that they do want to become a teacher,” said Vigue.

For more information on the program, contact Mora Martin at 860-622-5295.

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