Story by Lindsay Long, Zakiya Austin and Raleigh Norris

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Photo by Raleigh Norris

Early Childhood Education courses offered at Dutch Fork, such as Early Childhood I and Early Childhood II, are focused towards students who want to pursue a career in teaching elementary students once they finish college.

“This course is designed to provide students with hands-on opportunities to actively explore and observe the world of children and prepare them for educational and administrative careers in the field,” Childhood Education teacher Phyllis Richmond said. “This course provides in-depth study of career paths, developmentally appropriate practices, curriculum development, safe and healthy learning environments, and collaborative relationships.”

Jasmine Drayton, a junior in the Early Childhood I class, is confident that this course will teach her how to be a good teacher.

“It is going to offer me a chance to learn the proper way of teaching children and how to interact with children in the classroom,” Jasmine said.

Junior Jenna Bishop, currently enrolled in Early Childhood I, supports Mrs. Richmond’s annotation of the course.

“I hope to gain better communication skills, more patience, a sense of responsibility, and a feel for the real world,” Jenna said.

Richmond assures that this course will help students pursue their teaching careers, and that these classes will help them go far.  

“The Early Childhood program prepares students who want to become teachers because they practice teaching skills in the classroom and learn teaching techniques and different learning styles,” Richmond said. “Then they are placed in the schools to experience different hands-on activities with children.”

Early Childhood II student, senior Ariel Morgan, thinks that only certain students should take the class, especially if they see a future with children.

“Advice I have for future students who want to take this course is it only go into the program if you want to be a teacher. If you don’t want to do something in the future that involves younger children, don’t take this class.” Ariel said.

Senior Elise Maglione, who is also in the Early Childhood II class, is teaching first grade at Ballentine Elementary School this year. She noticed that the Early Childhood class has really been beneficial to her, and she suggests that future teachers should do the same.

“My advice I have for next year’s students who want to be in this program is to listen in class so you can be better prepared for what’s going to happen in your field experience,” Elise said. “Just listening can go a long way.

Early Childhood I and II do more than just helping students prepare for a career in teaching. The classes also help with being around and having to deal with young children.

“I started taking [Early Childhood Education I] because I wanted to be a teacher and then I saw that it was good for more than just teaching,” Jenna said. “In general, if you wanted to be a doctor, it would teach you how to work with children that would come into your office and learning how to make them feel more at home and at ease when they’re at a place like that.”

Elise helps portray that this course is advantageous in more than one way by explaining that while you’re learning and growing in your career, you’re also helping children learn as well. This is beneficial because you can see how you’ve impacted others.

“My favorite part about my teaching experience is watching the children grow as learners,” Elise said. “It’s nice to be around that kind of positive energy.”

Richmond advises students that Early Childhood I and II are designed to teach students how to work with children and help them become teachers.

“For the students who want to take Early Childhood Education in the future, know that this is a program to explore the possibility of becoming a teacher, or working with children as a career,” Richmond said. “If that is your career path, this class was meant for you.”