I’ve always been a fan of elective high school classes that teach real-world, practical skills. The Child Development course at Cranford High School is an outstanding program that gives students hands-on practice with child care and education as they plan lessons and interact with preschool “Cougar Cubs,” who in turn get to experience a fun-filled and educational class all year!
Annamaria Bellino oversees the Family and Consumer Sciences Department at Cranford High, and the Child Development Course/Cougar Cubs Program is part of that department. According to Annamaria: “The Child Development course is a full-year elective open to students in grades 10-12, with the Cougar Cubs component running from October through May. Students who take the class have the Child Development course 5-days a week for 43 minutes daily. There are three sections of the class with 15 students in each class. On Mondays and Fridays, the high school students meet as a class to lesson-plan and work through the curriculum. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, the preschool aged Cubs report from 9:15-11:15am as the three class periods cycle through the high school schedule (resulting in the Cubs working with a total of 45 high school students each day).”
Annamaria continued, “There is a certified Cranford High School staff member that teaches the class for high school credit and provides supervision to the high school students when they work with the Cubs.”
Parents who are interested in signing up their preschool age children for the Cubs program should contact Annamaria at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Children must be 3 1/2 years old at the start of the program (no older than 4), and must be potty-trained. The cost is $175 to enroll your Cub for one semester (October-January or January-May) or $325 for the entire year, plus a $25 registration fee. If you’ve priced out traditional preschool classes, you know this is a STEAL! You can download the application forms here: http://cranfordschools.org/new/uncategorized/cougar-cubs/
Below is an in-depth description of the program. For any students who are thinking about becoming teachers someday, this sounds like a wonderful foundation. And for parents who are looking to introduce their preschool children to a social and education setting, Cougar Cubs is the perfect stepping stone! Annamaria said, “This program is embraced by the entire Cranford Community. Many of the high school students who take Child Development were once participants in the preschool-type program and are eager to sit on the other side of the desk!”
Cougar Cubs: “Teens Teaching Tots and Tots Teaching Teens” Service-Learning in Child Development
Child Development is a service-learning elective in the Family & Consumer Sciences Department that introduces high school level students to the child education and care profession through a careful, psychology-grounded study of child development. It is designed to increase understanding of the basic concepts of child development and the developmental characteristics of children. This course is the foundation for planning appropriate activities for and establishing appropriate expectations of children, while offering an opportunity to study the various developmental domains (social, emotional, cognitive/language and physical). As part of the course, under the direction of a qualified teacher, there are regular opportunities for high school students to observe and interact with three and four year old children in our community in an early childhood setting of free play and child-to-child & child-to-teen interaction.
Class Objectives for High School Students
- To provide students with an opportunity for applying theory learned in the classroom.
- To train students to use instructional strategies found effective in early childhood education.
Goal for Cougar Cubs:
- To provide a developmentally appropriate, hands-on learning environment that is not a pre-school but an opportunity to promote social, emotional, cognitive, and physical growth in preparation for formal schooling.