ECE preschool prepares students for working world | News, Sports, Jobs

Contributed CHANCE TO LEARN —School’s in at the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School early childhood education program, which offers preschool classes for 3- and 4-year-olds at the Bloomingdale site.

BLOOMINGDALE — Classes have begun at the early childhood education preschool program at the Jefferson County Joint Vocational School, giving high schoolers a chance to gain experience for the working world.

Instructor Becky Kelley said her 18 juniors and seniors assist with 3- and 4-year-olds in the state-licensed preschool to prepare them for potential careers in childcare and education.

“We started on Sept. 12 and have a full class. It operates four days a week on Monday to Thursday from 8:45 am to 1:45 pm,” Kelly said. “It’s good, hands-on experience for high school students because they are training to become a child care worker or go on to become a teacher. It gives them a chance to have experience before they have a career.”

The teens spend their time working with tots on learning activities to get them ready for kindergarten and a playground is also on site for physical activity and fun. Kelley said some JVS students learn on the job outside the facility, with one pupil already taking advantage and another possibly getting a similar opportunity. The students are required to earn 480 hours of experience working with children–which includes their time at the preschool — to earn a child development associate credential that is needed to join the workforce, plus it provides 12 points toward graduation.

In addition, they obtain an American Heart Association Heartsaver certification for CPR and first aid, communicable disease recognition training and child abuse recognition training. The CDA is optional but may also earn them points for ratings in Step Up to Quality in private service and child care. Students also create developmentally appropriate lesson plans and meet the Ohio Department of Education’s Early Learning Development standards so children have what they need before they start kindergarten. They further obtain experience conducting evaluations and assessments on the youngsters and formulate plans to meet their needs.

Meanwhile, the students participate in the Family Career and Community Leaders of America organization and have attended state and national competitions. ECE is one of the original programs that date back to the school’s opening in 1975, and since then it has put a multitude of graduates in classrooms and child care facilities.

Kelley said classes are $25 per month in the learning lab. For information or enrollment, call (740) 264-5545, Ext. 408.

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