Students Deliver Professional Child Care
Students Deliver Professional Child Care
Posted on 01/17/2018
Clyde A. Erwin High School senior Kasiah Harper helps a preschooler identify different types of animals at Erwin’s child care center on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. Clyde A. Erwin High School senior Kasiah Harper smiled warmly as she helped a preschooler identify different types of animals at Erwin’s child care center on Tuesday. She got a big hug at the end of the lesson.

“I love working with kids,” she said. “It just makes me happy.”

Harper, and dozens of other BCS students are training to become child care professionals. Under the tutelage of master teachers, these students care for the children of BCS employees and the general public at Five-Star-rated child care facilities -- located at Erwin, A.C. Reynolds and T.C. Roberson High Schools. Students at all BCS high schools can travel to Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College to take professional child care courses.

“Our students are gaining real world experience, the opportunity to earn their N.C. Lead Teacher Early Childhood Credentials, and many of my students go on to study education in college or enter the early child care workforce,” said Family and Consumer Sciences teacher and child care site director Caitlin Johnson.

Students spend half their time in class learning about developmentally appropriate practices, educational theories, classroom management skills, how to communicate with parents, and how to meet licensure requirements. Students spend the other half learning by experience.

A Clyde A. Erwin High School student and a preschooler sit across a table from each other, both smiling.The Erwin preschool sits across the hall from Johnson’s classroom. Inside, the walls feature scenes from around the world. Small tables and chairs are just the right height for the 3- to 5-year-olds as they learn about the world through play. High school students lead games that build foundations for future learning. They introduce the preschoolers to the alphabet and basic words, help them build fine motor skills, and guide the children as they develop social skills. The high school students grow as well.

“I can teach the kids and at the same time learn what it’s really like to be a teacher,” said Erwin senior Stephanie Nanni. “I’ve learned that every child is different, so you can’t just cater to one or two of them. They all have different needs, and you need to be able to work with them.”

“I knew how to handle kids in general before this class,” Harper added. “But I didn’t know anything about the standards and rules, how to do it professionally.”

As any new parent knows, there is a shortage of affordable child care both in Buncombe County and nationwide. Johnson said her students are part of the solution.

“It’s a field that is changing,” she said. “More young people are entering it. And these programs show them all the benefits. They experience the love from these children. They get to help them grow.”

Career and Technical Education at BCS high schools provide students with work-based learning in a range of areas, from welding to cooking to marketing. These real-life experiences introduce students to viable career paths while also developing soft skills that enhance employability. Learn more at cte.buncombeschools.org.
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