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The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Wildcats pursue potential career path through early learning program

Seniors+Noah+Diamond+and+Aubrey+Colwell+play+with+the+child+development+students+during+their+transition+period.+The+children+get+to+have+free+time+in+between+the+high+schoolers+classes+as+a+way+to+help+transition+them.
Courtesy Hyun Yoo
Seniors Noah Diamond and Aubrey Colwell play with the child development students during their transition period. The children get to have free time in between the high schoolers classes as a way to help transition them.

The typical classroom at WJ is the one that’s built for grown teenagers. The big chairs, big tables, “big kid” pencils and pens are all we really think about when it comes to a classroom setting. Some people forget that there’s a miniature-sized classroom right here in WJ. It has finger paint, tiny chairs, markers, crayons, play-doh, you name it. All the childhood toys you forgot existed are right here. This is the space where children and specific high schoolers thrive together in the Child Development program.

Dating years back, WJ’s Child Development program has played an important role in the blossoming success of children and future educators. Hyun Yoo, the head of the program, took over the program a few years ago after taking the class herself. Yoo took the job because of how successful the course was when she took it and to continue helping students to grow, just like she did.

“I mean, I was a little worried about teaching high school because I’d never done that before, but I just remember how much I loved this class and I really wanted the opportunity to be able to teach it myself,” Yoo said.

High school students get the opportunity to lesson plan, teach, observe and research on a rotating schedule with weekly themes pertaining to each month. The Child Development program spans within the first half of a WJ day. Period one is dedicated to Child Development level twos in which each sub group teaches for four days in a row in comparison to level one students, periods two through four, where each sub group teaches for two days.

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This year program holds eight preschoolers ranging ages four and five. The beginning of the year is the hardest for the preschoolers having to meet multiple different high school teachers.

The most important thing students don’t always learn in school is how to collaborate and work as a team. Yoo sees the class as not only an opportunity to learn how to be an educator but also how to work with other people and become stronger collaborators.

“Like anything you do in your life, whatever career path you go on, because I know this class is not for everyone in terms of working with kids in the future but any job you have, you have to know how to be able to communicate and work with others. I think this class definitely prepares everyone for that,” Yoo said.

With collaboration also comes problem-solving. Working with kids is a hard job and the class prepares students for though situations in the future.

“I’ve learned how to be more patient because dealing with kids is a bit more difficult than people think and you really have to be patient with them and go over things more than once so that they understand because it may seem simple to you but it’s hard for them to get it to click,” Child Development level two junior Taylor White said.

Child development students learn about the importance of friendship with their high school teachers. The lesson and follow up activity was letter focused as each letter of the word ‘Friendship’ was decorate by a student. (Courtesy Hyun Yoo)

Senior Carly Gilder felt like the class was a great way to grow as a student and person. Even having taken the class sophomore year, the skills she learned have stuck with her.

“I have so much appreciation for teachers making decisions on the fly regarding the trajectory of their lessons. We would often have to alter our plans on the fly based on attendance and engagement that we got. By the end of the year we were experts and could anticipate the students’ needs ahead of the time,” Gilder said.

The children also learn about many different cultures.

“We just did Lunar New Year with them. They got to learn about how this is the year of the dragon and the different animals that represent each year. During the winter holidays, we touched holidays like Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Christmas. Even though all of them, this year celebrate Christmas, we wanted them to be aware and learn about other holidays that other religions, families or cultures celebrate. So we just try and incorporate that all year,” Yoo said.

If Child Development is a class that a WJ student wants to continue through multiple years of their high school career, Child Development two looks a bit different. The priorities change and more planning falls into your workload.

“Being a second-year teacher comes with more responsibilities like setting up the classroom, putting together yearbooks for the preschoolers and picking them up in the morning,” Child Development level two senior Evelyn McKaig said.

For Yoo, part of the joy of teaching this class is the benefits she sees and the development of her students, on both sides.

“I love that I get to work with two different age groups. I love working with the high schoolers because I see so much growth in them as collaborators and students but then I also love being able to still be with little kids and watching their growth on a completely different level. It’s just so cool to see two completely different age groups develop in such different ways,” Yoo said.

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Anna Zucconi
Anna Zucconi, Online Sports Editor
Senior Anna Zucconi is excited to participate in her first year with the pitch as an Online Sports Editor. In addition to writing for the Pitch, Anna enjoys going to the beach and playing lacrosse.
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