SHS teens learn life skills from kindergartners

Searcy (LP)  This year, along with surrounding schools such as Pangburn and Rosebud, Searcy High School has the privilege to participate in the Child Care program.  Searcy students, instructed by Mrs. Tommi Johnston, are given the opportunity to travel to McRae Elementary where they serve as aids to the kindergarten teachers.  Mrs. Johnston justifies that the program is very profitable to the teens partaking in the class.  “The program gives SHS students the chance to see if they will be interested in child care as a future career, and it gives them the opportunity to internship without paying.”  Each teacher usually accepts two to three teens in their room where they are then able to teach while SHS helps in the minor areas such as cutting out papers.  The teens are also given the chance to interact and connect with the children, allowing them an advantage as possible future parents.  

SHS Senior Tiffany Baker helping some students clip up for being good.

SHS senior, Tiffany Baker, is one of the many engaging in the class.  “I wanted to take the course, because I love kids and want to know more about them.  It’s a cool experience to get to actually work with them.”  There are about sixteen students in Mrs. Johnston’s Child Care course, the biggest participating group in her fifteen years of teaching the program.  She believes that having teenagers help with the elementary classes is not only good for them but very helpful to the children’s teachers.  “The program gives the teachers the chance to have more one on one interaction with some of the kids that may need more help in specific areas.”  Although not original to Searcy High School, the guidance counselor, Mrs. Julia Roddy, confirmed that the school began conducting the program in the mid-90s.  The course focuses on the estimated national need of future child caregivers and educators.  Each student is taught the basics of the necessities a child will require during the early stages of development, as well as the desired traits of anyone looking to work with children.  

Mrs. Caitlin Laire teaching her students how to properly handle a laptop.

Mrs. Caitlin Laire, a kindergarten teacher at McRae, knew she wanted to be a teacher from a young age and was involved in the Child Care program in high school to prepare her for college.  “I think the program is very beneficial.  As a new teacher, I encounter situations everyday that are not ‘taught from the book.’  These classes gave me the opportunity to gain experience in a hands on way through observations and volunteer work.”

Student Amarianna in Mrs. Laire’s classroom.



 The Child care program continues to benefit teenagers, young children, and teachers all over the U.S.  Future parents and educators are able to gain more than just the basic knowledge of a child’s needs; they are rewarded with little smiles and the amazing feeling of seeing a small face light up in the moment of understanding.    

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