After year of postponement, early childhood education classes reenter childcare


Saydria Ostler

Juniors Lili Stutz, Savannah Nelson, and Shaye Vannorman (left to right) play with toys in Childhood Education. Students completed “play labs,” in which they evaluated the developmental domains and advantages to the toys.

Students in Early Childhood Education classes are now able to enter Childcare and play with the kids after being unable to for over a year. At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, many things were canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions and concerns. One of the main limitations for the students in Early Childhood Education was the fact that they were unable to help and play with the children. 

Childcare typically takes up 50% of year two, and years three and four spend 80-90% of their time with the children. “This is the first year that I’ve been able to go into Childcare,” said junior Lili Stutz, who has been in Early Childhood for three years. Going online and losing the ability to visit the kids changed the structure of the classes. 

The purpose of sending the students into Childcare is so they can apply what they learned in their class. “I’ve done a lot of research, and I have a background that says learning through play at all ages is the best way to go, because it stimulates the brain in the way we want it,” said Early Childhood Education teacher Victoria Fisher. The students do a lot of hands-on activities, where they evaluate and analyze the different learning styles and developmental domains that are used within play activities. 

Fisher is teaching her classes about the brain and development, and how children learn through play. “It’s easier this year to do the evaluations and analysis that I give them when they do the play labs…I’m getting them to use higher-level thinking,” said Fisher. She does not like to use textbooks, and so Fisher focuses on finding other forms of teaching, such as assignments, video clips, articles, or group activities, which has been easier since the coronavirus restrictions have lessened. 

The students and the kids are excited that they could meet and play together this year. “The kids have adjusted pretty well…they’re always playing and learning,” said junior Declan Phuong. Students are able to relate what they have learned in class to what they are doing with the kids. “It’s still weird that we’re able to go into Childcare, since we didn’t get to all of last year. But when we go in there, the kids are so happy,” said junior Shaye Vannorman. 

Early Childhood Education classes look different this year, as opposed to last year. The transition back to pre-coronavirus life allows the teacher and students to participate in some of the activities and assignments that they missed during the 2020-2021 school year. “They’re playing in here; they’re getting to know each other. We create a family, especially in my upper-level classes. We’re able to build that community; I’m a firm believer in that. I love seeing my students’ smiles,” said Fisher.