Play Time Elevated

Photo by: James Schaap
Jordan Dordan, senior, reads a Little Scorp an “I Spy” book.

Preschoolers participating in Cam High’s Little Scorps program are offered a friendly, safe atmosphere to play during the school day, while at the same time, teaching students the fundamentals of caring for a young toddler.

A typical Little Scorps session begins by picking up the children at the parking lot and taking them to room K-3, colloquially termed “the Pre-K room” by the children. After having some snacks and greeting one another, the students and toddlers gather to participate in “circle time” altogether.

“Circle time is just what it sounds like- we all sit together in a circle and begin the day’s activities” said Kayla Valdiviero, a junior who considers herself to be quite active in the Little Scorps program. Cam High students take turns standing up in front of the circle and taking the role as the designated teacher for the day. They focus on a particular subject, whether it be transportation, holidays, colors, and animals (simplified for the preschoolers, of course), and conduct the day’s lessons plans. Everyday they focus math, writing, arts and crafts activities around the daily theme or subject.

“We try to do a little bit of everything to prepare the kids for school by doing what I like to call ‘structured playing’,” said Ms. Ida Lange, program director for Little Scorps.

“I love it!” said Valdiviero. “I really do. First of all, it’s just like a real-life experience of having a job that works with children, and second, they’re just so adorable and endearing.”

Lange also had only positive comments towards the effects of hosting the Little Scorps program, and said, “I enjoy connecting with the community, preparing the children for school, and teaching teens what it’s like to work with kids. This builds a strong bridge between us and the community.”

Following the scheduled lesson of the day, the Little Scorps go out to play games that most of the students still remember fondly from their own elementary and pre-kinder years. “They like to play Red Light, Green Light a lot” said Valdiviero. “We usually try to tie it in with the lesson of the day to make it fun and educational.”

Finally, as the daily session of Little Scorps draws to an end, the children gather into a closing circle and sing a song. “They get really into it,” said Valdiviero. “I personally think the cutest song they do is Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes. They’re so short and tiny and watching them go through the motions.. adorable!”

For the 2013-2014 school year, a total of 22 students volunteered to be teachers and dedicate two periods a day spending time with  potential future Scorpions at Cam High.