High school students teach preschoolers

Preschool students participate in color war day for homecoming spirit week.

Jennifer Wagner

Preschool students participate in color war day for homecoming spirit week.

Kailey Lentz, Author

    Each day beginning around 9:15 a.m., young students arrive at the back doors of the lower 400 wing near the back of the hallway. There are smiles on their faces and joy in their minds when they greet their teachers at the door. Their teachers, however, aren’t your ordinary ones.

    High School students learn what it is like to be a teacher by participating in the student-run preschool program, the Panther Preschool, here at Central York High School during school hours. 

    Headteacher, Mrs. Jennifer Wagner, teaches the Early Education class to high school students grades 9-12. Students acquire the opportunity to develop specific lesson plans they then teach to the preschoolers. Lessons traditionally follow the theme of the week and certain subjects like writing, reading, math and science. 

    High school student teachers develop soft skills such as responsibility, organization and communication among others.

    “[The] main benefit for the high school students is to learn how to teach, guide behavior and care for 3-4-year-olds,” said Wagner.

    The Panther Preschool takes place on regular schedule days periods two and three in room 409. Four-year-old preschool students are scheduled to come in Monday, Wednesday and Friday. While three-year-old students come in Tuesday and Thursday. 

      “It helps them in their development to see others having the same successes and the same struggles. Builds a better all-around child including their self-esteem” said Wagner. 

    There is about one teacher for every two preschoolers. When going through learning center rotations, the preschoolers are split up into small groups and have a set time they stay in one group before moving on to the next. These centers include hands-on activities and short reviews of content.

   “We can do all these fun things,” said preschool students. “I love making crafts and taking stuff home.”

    High school students who have already taken Early Education have the opportunity to be an intern for Mrs. Wagner. This experience allows students to obtain a real-life perspective on what it is like to be a teacher for younger children. Interns are responsible for working with high school students helping them create lesson plans and aiding the preschoolers during activities and lessons.

    “…I want to be an early childhood educator and I love working with kids,” said Malyn Shimmel, a senior intern. “I’ve been involved in this class for three years now. I am currently the highest level intern you are able to be.”

    At the end of each school year, preschoolers moving to kindergarten attend the end-of-the-school-year graduation ceremony. High School teachers, interns and Headteacher Wagner contribute towards this ceremony to help preschoolers feel accomplished and motivated to continue their education. All students have the opportunity to participate in the Early Education class beginning their sophomore year.