Loganville Christian Academy offers an Early Childhood Education (ECE) Program to selected high school students. In this program, an Upper School (US) student has the opportunity to obtain a variety of experiences while supporting a Lower School (LS) teacher at LCA.
For example, the ECE students observe the pacing of lesson plans and how assessments are developed. And they observe how students are grouped for various activities, how student behavior expectations are managed, or how biblical principles are incorporated into instruction.
The teachers provide weekly feedback to the high school principal who can then share some “Glows & Grows” to support the ECE students’ development. The program has been a great opportunity for investing in the next generation of educators.
Benefits for the ECE Students
Throughout the school year, the high school ECE students develop an understanding of the responsibilities of a classroom teacher while observing a teacher in action. This hands-on experience is similar to an internship, allowing students to explore career options prior to declaring their college majors. LCA currently has eleven US students participating in the ECE program, which began in the Fall of 2010.
The experience has been positive all around. Rachel Ernst, LCA’s high school principal, said, “Students who have an interest in going into the education field are given an opportunity to work alongside a seasoned teacher to see what it really takes to teach. ECE students are exposed to the planning and implementation of lesson plans, working with student groups, and working behind the scenes to help in the classroom. This program benefits the ECE student as well as the supporting teacher. Future teachers begin their development in this program, and some even return to teach at LCA, like one of our 5th grade teachers, Miss Helms.”
The ECE students are able to support elementary and middle school students in classroom activities, such as whole group instruction, small group support, and one-on-one remediation/extension. Of course, the LS and MS students at LCA look up to these older students who are taking a personal interest in them. And the LS teachers naturally benefit from the extra help in their classrooms and are more than willing to be a role model for and mentor the ECE students.
Benefits of Multi-Level Interaction
Unlike most public schools, LCA has a unique opportunity—with all levels of students on one campus—to promote multi-level interaction between grade levels. Regularly on campus you will see older students mentoring or investing in younger students. This can be seen in numerous settings from the Kinder Program where the seniors connect with “kinders” all the way to the mentoring groups organized by LCA’s campus pastor, Mark Davis.
Erika Lambert, a 5th grade teacher at LCA, said, “My students look forward to the time when our ECE helper joins us each day. I feel that both parties benefit because the helper is observing and learning what will be expected of them as a future educator, and the students are gaining a positive influence and role model.”
Miss Karen Wages, a 7th grade history teacher and alumna of LCA said, “The ECE program has been wonderful. Rebekah [Teffertiller] has been a terrific asset to one of my 7th grade history classes. She has taught lessons, helped with projects, led different activities, and done whatever else she could to be part of that class. It's been so fun watching her grow and pursue the education field. This program gives those students a head start in that pursuit. I wish I had been able to do something like this when I was in high school.”
Testimonials from ECE Students
When asked about her perspective of the ECE program, senior Rebekah Teffertiller said, “I have loved getting to see how best to interact with students and convey information in ways that are fun and help them understand better. I am also grateful to Miss Wages for allowing me to try teaching firsthand by giving me a unit of ancient history to teach. I believe that this experience will give me an upper hand as I pursue an education degree.”
Senior Lillie Sirmans said, “The Pre-K students and I were doing a snow experiment [pictured below] that went along with a book we had read. We put baby oil, white paint, blue dye, glitter, and Alka-Seltzer® tablets inside of a Mason® jar to create a snowstorm. I have adored getting to work with the Pre-K students this year! Though I am the one teaching them, they have also taught me so much. They teach me daily to find joy in the little things. They remind me that learning can be fun when we choose to meet new concepts and ideas with excitement. Mrs. Giddens and Mrs. Wages have taught me how valuable teaching is, not just in the way they teach, but in the way they love their students.”
The ECE program is another example of LCA’s mission in action: Loganville Christian Academy exists to prepare students academically, spiritually, and socially for God’s call on their lives. We’re continually grateful for our LS teachers’ investment in the US students, and we’re so proud of our ECE students and their interaction and encouragement with the LS and MS students. We Are LCA!