Hinsdale South preschool prepares teachers and students for school
Nikki Rusnaka with and Amber Wroda read a book together as Hinsdale South students teach a preschool program for their child development class. | Dan Luedert~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 28, 2013 1:58AM
DARIEN — Students at Wee Care Preschool aren’t the only ones who are learning.
While the nine 3- to 5-year-olds enrolled in the program at Hinsdale South High School are learning a lot about math, science and other subjects, their teachers are learning to be preschool instructors and caregivers.
Wee Care is part of the high school’s Childhood Development course. Offered one semester each year, the class puts students in charge of running a preschool that meets three days a week for eight weeks.
“The do it all,” Hinsdale South teacher Andrea Smith said.
“I definitely want to major in elementary education,” said senior Karson Kurzeja.
She said her Wee Care experience has made her even more confident that teaching is the career she wants to pursue.
“It’s not just about playing,” Smith said.
Her students prepare and carry out lesson plans. When they aren’t teaching, they observe the preschoolers as part of their curriculum.
“I took this class to study adolescent behavior,” said sophomore Johanna Christoff, who hopes to study psychology in college.
Bridget Rassi of Darien has sent five of her eight children to Wee Care and plans to send her youngest two when they are old enough.
While Rassi believes her children benefit from the time they spend at the preschool, she also likes knowing she is helping to prepare the next generation of teachers.
“The only way these kids are going to learn about it is if they have this contact with the kids,” she said.
Parents pay $65 for the 8-week session, which teacher Laura Hughes said basically covers the cost of snacks and supplies.
“Anyone in the area is welcome to enroll their child,” Hughes said.
Wee Care is available just once a year, in the second half of the first or second semester. Students in the childhood development class spend the first half of the semester learning about infant, toddler and preschool development and behavior before opening the classroom doors to the preschoolers.
“They get a lot of instruction. A lot of one-on-one time,” Smith said of the children, who all participate in four sets of lessons prepared by four sets of student teachers each day. “They go home pretty tired.”