Kids Teaching Kids

Planning a future after high school has gotten a bit more flexible this year for those looking to earn their Child Development Associate certification from BOCES. The reason: Hampton Bays School District now has two filled pre-K classrooms at the high school. This means that not only will there be more little ones attending school-based prekindergarten classes, but now juniors and seniors looking to earn credit to become teachers can interact with them without having to travel off campus.

“We’ve taken the transportation element out of it,” said Hampton Bays High School Principal Christopher Richardt of his school’s new program. “We don’t have to bus our students out anymore. Now they can take more electives, and there are no more buses or missed periods. Plus, it’s great to have all these young children here. I think it’s had a positive effect on the climate of the high school.”

There are currently five Hampton Bays students—Odalis Bahena, Yoliana Gonzalez-Arias, Heather O’Connor, Bianca Serna and Rosa Yanes—and one Southampton High School student, Lisa Gagliardo, taking advantage of the early childhood education program to earn CDA certification. Their coursework entails 120 hours of classroom instruction, plus interaction and teaching opportunities with the children, ages 3 to 5. For the fall semester, there are 72 children in pre-K classes, according to Mr. Richardt.

As Hampton Bays District Superintendent Lars Clemensen noted, the program is advantageous for the students at both ends of the educational spectrum.

“There are a lot of benefits,” he said. “We have doubled the amount of kids who have access to school-based pre-K programs, we have previously underutilized space being used, and we are making it even easier for more high school students to become career-ready.”