Submitted to Easton Patch:
Just one year ago, vocational students at Southeastern started ripping apart the interior of an electrical shop, which was housed in a stark, brick building next to the administrative offices at their school. Today, that same building looks completely different and has an entirely different use – it is the site of a brand new Center for Early Learners, which opened on September 10.
The new center was built by Southeastern vocational students in the electrical, plumbing and construction shops, who worked the entire school year on renovating the site, under the supervision of their teachers. Now, the 6,000-square-foot facility looks every bit as professional as childhood facilities across the state, and it is an ideal site for children, as well as teachers and students, who are part of Southeastern’s Early Education and Care program.
“This is the first time we’ve had separate classrooms for our children, so they can be taught at different levels. It’s much easier to meet the developmental needs of each child,” said Sharon Barrows, the center’s director.
The new facility has a dual purpose – it offers daycare and early education services to small children, ages 2.9 to 5, and it serves as a classroom and learning center for high school students who are majoring in early education. It is divided into three different sections, which includes a learning area for the high school students, and two large, separate learning centers for the children, who are divided by their ages.
The two children’s classrooms include new furniture, bright, colorful floors, and high ceilings, which make for a cheerful, stimulating atmosphere. The high school students receive instruction in a classroom that is situated in between the two children’s areas, and they are able to observe the children from that area as well.
The facility serves 20 children, and right now, the center is accepting enrollment. The program follows the same curriculum as the Massachusetts Preschool Frameworks, and there are four Southeastern instructors, licensed by the state’s Department of Early Education and Care, who work with the children during the school day.
Southeastern high school students also work with the children, after they have observed their teachers demonstrating appropriate behavior and teaching styles and language. Southeastern instructor Sheryl Caron says her freshmen students participate in the early learning center through observation and guidance provided by the instructors and upper classmen.
Sophomores, juniors and seniors also work with the children, as well as upperclassmen working at externships with other preschools, Brockton Public Schools & Kindergarten.
There are enough high school students on site to guarantee a low ratio between the children and the instructors. In fact, there are often enough teachers and high school students on hand that they are able to work one on one with all the children. .
“I love it,” said Jessica Couto, a Southeastern teacher in special education, whose daughter attends the center. “My son graduated last year, and he is now well ahead of his peers in Kindergarten,” she said.
Another advantage of the new center is its location, which is now separate from the high school. Parents can pick up and drop off their children at a traffic-free driveway, during any part of the day. The new center also has two fenced in playgrounds at the entrance, which includes a soft surface, made out of recycled rubber.
The center is open between 7:15am-4:00pm. Families may choose from a 1/2 day ($15.00 per day ending at 11:30 a.m.) or a full day ($ 30.00) where parents may pick up anytime during the day. Tuition for a full day includes afternoon snack and lunch. For more information, contact Sharon Barrows at 508-230-1362, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.