Little Lions preschool welcomes new class


This story was originally published in the first edition of The Lion’s Tale (October 28, 2019).

Students in Oviedo High School’s early Childhood Education classes are getting the Little Lions Preschool ready for its big opening day Oct. 22.

Since its start, the Little Lions preschool has had many changes in administration, teachers and students and this year is no different. But, students and staff said they are looking forward to what’s to come.

Brittney Rodgers, the Early Childhood Education teacher at OHS, said that decorating is a big part in preparing the classroom for the children.

“There are several steps that we have to follow to get everything ready to go to actually open preschool. We have to decorate everything in the classroom, we have all kinds of paperwork that the children bring to the open house that their parents would fill out, and then we would have to go through it all that and make sure everything is in order for them to be able to start,” Rogers said. “The teachers have to prepare lessons and do a lot of class and planning so they know what activities are going to do.”

In these types of classes, the “teachers” are the students who will run the day-to-day lessons for the preschoolers.

Each year the preschool class is different, although the class typically utilizes the same set of requirements for its potential participants. All of the children have to be between the ages of three and four and potty-trained.

“Some children stay with us until they are ready to go to kindergarten,” Rogers said. “But most of them are just here with us that one year.”

The preschool at OHS doesn’t just help the children, who are taught the basic curriculum to prepare them for their kindergarten year.

“It gives us as students the chance to explore a career pathway,” said senior Dominique Racktoo.

As a student in the early childhood education classes, you can’t just jump right in and begin teaching the kids: highschoolers must first take the Department of Children and Families’ tests to be able to do so. As a level one student, typically as a freshman, you do book work and learn how to teach, so when you move up into a level two, you are able to start working in the preschool itself.

Participants in the class say the program can help everyone involved in different ways.

“[It helps the] preschoolers by providing one-on-one guidance and helping them start their career in education,” said senior Kayla Canney. “[It helps the] teachers by showing what the duties of a teacher [are].”

The students at OHS and Roger said they love working in the preschool. They said that it’s nice to sometimes get the same kids return, but also exciting to receive new faces as well.

“What I love most about working with the preschool specifically is that they are just such a fun age group to work with,” Rogers said. “They’re inquisitive. They are excited to be able to be in school. They’re extremely creative [and] they love to sing and dance and have music time. I love doing that with them.”

The students turned teachers in the class said they love to work in the preschool since it lets them gain experience as an educator and explore a possible career path. Junior Brielle Minnetto said the real highlight of the program, however, is getting the opportunity to try something new.

“I love meeting all the new kids [and] seeing their personalities and watching them grow,” she said.