Career and Technology Center preschool teaches high-schoolers, too

Twelve high-schoolers from Jamestown and Pingree-Buchanan spend their mornings in a classroom, but as teachers rather than students for the James Valley Career and Technology Center's child care and development program.

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From left, MacKenzie Kleinjan, Kaitlyn Quam, Carissa Krawczyk and Medora Laber, Jamestown High School juniors, work Thursday with children in the day care at the James Valley Career and Technology Center. The students are enrolled in a child care and development class. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Twelve high-schoolers from Jamestown and Pingree-Buchanan spend their mornings in a classroom, but as teachers rather than students for the James Valley Career and Technology Center’s child care and development program.

The class allows 11th- and 12th-grade students to learn to manage a preschool and get experience assisting in elementary classrooms or local day cares, according to the center’s website.

Carissa Krawczyk, a junior, chose to take the class because she thought it would be fun.

“It doesn’t even feel like a class,” Krawczyk said.

The class is ideal for students interested in early childhood education, elementary education, day care center employment and those who may be nannies or parents, said Shelley Mansavage, child development teacher. The course allows them to figure out if they do or don’t want to go into a child-related field, Mansavage said.


Kaitlyn Quam said she began the class this semester, and doesn’t know if she wants to go into a related field, but is just trying it out.

Nine students are from Jamestown High School and three are from Pingree-Buchanan High School, Mansavage said. The students are split in half; six students work at the playschool and the other six assist at an elementary school or day care, then switch after four weeks, she said.

The preschool is held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and the high-schoolers plan lessons and activities on Monday and Friday, Mansavage said. The students working at the center’s preschool are also split into two different block classes in the morning, Mansavage said.

Mansavage said she sees a lot of growth from the high school students from the beginning to the end of the school year.

“At the beginning they are just getting to know the kids and learning how to do lessons, by the end they gain confidence and understand the preschool age behaviors and how to redirect them,” Mansavage said.

Students also learn the types of lessons and activities appropriate for preschoolers and get an understanding of how to create a lesson plan, she said.

Medora Laber, a junior from Jamestown, said she chose the class because she likes kids and wants to go into speech pathology. Having the chance to work in the classroom is better than a regular class because students learn to interact one on one with the preschoolers, Laber said.

The child care and development program with the preschool has been going for about 30 years, at least since the building has been here, said John Lynch, center director. The center doesn’t advertise for the preschool, it’s all word of mouth, he said. The preschool can accept 12 kids and the center loves having them, Lynch said.

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