The child development program at Central Lakes College uses a campus laboratory that looks more like a nursery school than a lab.
Students at CLC find themselves immersed in a sea of tiny tots on the go, many in search of constant activity. Sponges that these youngsters are, proper communication and guidance are essential toward developing the functional adult.
A three-credit course, planning and implementing curriculum, might not grab you. But watch the tots and the teens interact before you write this one off. Hours pass like minutes in a beehive of attentive caring and sharing.
For the Early Childhood Family Education program of the Brainerd School District, the CLC course provided a staff respite and a new environment for the youngest of child-care clients. The college students often spend time at the ECFE facilities; bringing the children to a different setting gives them an exciting adventure.
The lab comes complete not only with books, paints and educational games. A center of attention for everyone is the minnow tank, where tiny hands scoop up wiggles and gleeful voices emit giggles.
The CLC students are careful not to ruin the fun by detaining the out-of-water fish. "Back in the tank now," commands the firm but friendly fish tank supervisor.
Careful not to evoke the ire of a wounded ego or damage a nurturing atmosphere, the students offer guidance, alternatives and simple suggestions whenever a situation holds the possibility of going bad.
"There is nothing like hands-on experience for future professionals in child care," said Jeanette Rydberg, instructor. She and instructor Lynn Clement teach courses that cover child behavior, environments, family studies, nutrition, parent relations, health and safety.
All students working toward the child development assistant diploma or the child development care and guidance associate in applied science degree must take the course on planning and implementing curriculum.
From the classroom and lab experience, graduates can fill positions in family child-care settings, child centers, nursery schools, primary grades and all areas of infant/toddler care.
Internships and practicum opportunities put the finishing touches on education of the child-care professional graduating from CLC. The campus lab is a proving ground for those starting down that road.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.