Shorter Classes Hinder Early Childhood Students

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Jamie Zeldman, Staff Writer

The seven period day schedule has students feeling the repercussions of a shorter class period. One of the groups of students that are primarily affected is students in The Early Childhood program. This program prepares students for careers in child related occupations. During their class period, these students venture off to a variety of elementary schools in Wellington in order to practice their desired field of choice.

And these shorter classes prove to be a “major disadvantage” for students when leaving campus, “particularly the level three and four students”, says current teacher of the program, Lorna Jhagroo.

Having shorter classes makes going off campus difficult, especially with regards to transportation.

“There’s just not enough time to go,” Megan Perry, active level four student in the program, said. “You go there, and sometimes you have to compete with traffic to get there, definitely during seventh hour. Students don’t even get to visit the kids. In the long run, it would be better to have block scheduling, because then the students would get to work hands on with the kids, no matter what period they have it.”

Furthermore, with the seven period days, students not only have difficulties going to off campus locations and arriving back to campus on time, but also, they risk their chances of receiving the qualifications for the DCF certification at the end of the course.

If enrolled in the program all four years, students are eligible to receive the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) Child Care Training Certification. The certification requires the passing of six sections of the DCF exam and 480 hours of offsite volunteer work with young children.

The shorter classes do not provide the students with the adequate 480 hours. Block scheduling was the best way to achieve the hours, and the students reaching higher levels in the program will face difficulties in regards to the required hours.

“There are currently two students enrolled in level four of the program, whereas two years ago there were ten and last year there were six,” Jhagroo said.

Students are now forced to look at other mechanisms for achieving volunteer hours.

Perry works from one o’clock to four, everyday, at Wellington Elementary, trying to get her hours. Both Perry and Jhagroo agree that it is up to the individual to put in the extra time and be responsible for what they want to get out of the program.

The Early Childhood program is reaping the effects of the new seven period, shorter class days, which directly affects the interests of future child care professionals.