The student news site of Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois

The Independent

The student news site of Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois

The Independent

The student news site of Glenbard South High School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois

The Independent

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Little Raider’s Preschool: Child Development at Glenbard South

Mrs. Christa Gifford
The preschool students pictured here on Halloween, the students visited classrooms around South trick or treating at each class.

Child Development is a class dedicated to learning about children’s development through the Little Raider’s Preschool at south. While the class is focused on the growth and development of the preschoolers- for the high school students taking the class it is an opportunity for their own growth and development as well.

Child Development is one of the many electives offered  in the Family and Consumer Sciences department at South. The class includes two days in a traditional classroom and three days spent with the preschoolers at the Little Raider’s Preschool here at South. Mrs. Christa Gifford has been teaching Family and Consumer Sciences at Glenbard South for years but her child development classes are her favorite. For Gifford, “By teaching both age groups, I get to watch the growth of the high schoolers from the growth of the preschoolers- if that makes sense.” Gifford continued to expound upon this idea by describing that “as the preschoolers grow in their ability to self regulate, and all of those things we’re working on, the high schoolers gain confidence,” in working with the preschoolers. “I enjoy watching it all happen,” Gifford said. 

Gifford explained that the growth she witnesses in the high schoolers is not growth that can be graded traditionally. “It’s not all academic,” said Gifford,  “That certainly is part of it, but the skills that you’re building in this class, you can transfer to all kinds of different areas.” For example, Gifford explained that by taking child development and practicing one’s public speaking skills in front of a class of these three and four year olds, those speaking skills could help someone taking a speech class. She elaborated that “it’s a more supportive environment because they have group members to help.” 

Taking child development is not a class that only those who label themselves as “good with kids” can or should take. “A lot of times people are focused on selecting classes based on what they might study in college or what they want to do as a career but I mean, most people are going to be parents. Not everyone but most, or even the favorite aunt or uncle.” 

“You guys find yourself in situations all the time and you have to react and that’s the thing about children if you’re not around them very often. How are you going to know what to do?,” asked Gifford. 

“So I think it gives everybody a great opportunity to practice before the stakes are high, so to speak, you know, before it’s their own, or just again build that confidence to know that you know some things before that actually happens in your life,” said Gifford.  

There are three courses currently available to take surrounding the Little Raider’s Preschool. The first course available to students is Child Development 1. This course requires no pre-requisites and covers the basics of lesson planning and children’s development. The course also focuses on learning “how to interact with the preschoolers in a positive way and more of a teacher student kind of direction instead of just friend,” said Gifford. 

Child Development 2 is the second course offered, which requires the prerequisite of Child Development 1. The course, Gifford states, is extremely beneficial for anyone considering pursuing education in the future as it dives deeper into lesson planning and learning standards. “We take the lesson planning process to another level,” said Gifford. While Child Development 1 breaks up lessons into Small motor or Large motor, Child Development 2 focuses on incorporating and teaching early learning standards into each lesson. Child Development 2 moves into science, math and literacy standards. “It’s more educational based but still play based,” said Gifford. 

For those who after taking Child Development 1 and 2 wish to continue to work with the preschoolers, an independent study class is available. During this independent study students will not only help set up and run the preschool, taking on a greater leadership role, but also work to complete a project of their choosing. Gifford gushed that, “Right now I have a grad student at Northwestern studying speech pathology and when I had her she was thinking of doing speech pathology, so we matched her up with our speech pathologist here and he helped her create some little projects to do with the preschoolers. This gave her some experience to know what it’s like. To know what kind of data would she get? What kind of reports would she have to do? Does she like this?” Each independent study student thus completes a research project on any topic related to children’s development that matches their interests. 

Looking to the future next year a dual credit education course that would give students COD credit for the class. It would involve observations at local elementary schools, preferably utilizing the new block scheduling. 

When choosing your courses for next year, Child Development is a course that would benefit every student to take. 

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About the Contributor
Emma Pekkarinen
Emma Pekkarinen, Editor in Chief

My name is Emma Pekkarinen and I am a senior and one of the Co-Editors in Chief this year. When I’m not writing articles for The Independent you can find me reading, baking, or enjoying a walk outside. At South I also am a member of Speech Team and Model United Nations. 

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