Sandbox Preschool Visits WHS

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Class Plans Day For 4-year-olds

By Andrea Cabral

Hampton Union, Friday, April 4, 2008

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online]

Four-year olds of the Sandbox Preschool in Hampton visited a Winnacunnet High School family and consumer science class recently.
[Andrea Cabral photo]
HAMPTON -- Winnacunnet High School family and consumer science teacher Holly Smart and her early childhood education class hosted a special day of preschool for 13 4-year-olds from the Sandbox Preschool in Hampton.

High school students in Smart's class were assigned an end-of-trimester project to design a curriculum for the preschoolers for one day. They came up with a theme, as well as a variety of math, language, music and science lessons and fine and gross motor activities. Additionally, they were responsible for supervising the group and for facilitating the group's transition from one activity to the next.

"These are things we've been studying all trimester," Smart said. "I just really needed an authentic experience for the students so they could apply their knowledge and what they have learned."

Students in the class are Hannah Antanavich, Jessica Connolly, Marissa Correll, Amanda Doyle, and Marena Rommel, plus extra helpers Margo Reola and Jessica Neelon.

Smart often thought of inviting the preschoolers for a visit. "A friend of mine (Sherri Hamel) was working in the preschool field and I started thinking about how we could have some kind of partnership," she said.

Sandbox Preschool has been co-owned and operated by Hamel and Sue French, since June 2007. "Holly, e-mailed me and asked if we would be willing to take our preschool class to her early childhood education class for a day of fun," Hamel said. "Who would pass up an opportunity like that?"

The preschoolers arrived, found their name tags and were welcomed by the WHS students. Next, they participated in circle time where introductions took place. Since March is National Nutrition month, the chosen theme for the day was healthy eating.

"They had to have a plastic apple in their hand to talk," Smart said. "Then they sang 'Old MacDonald Had a Farm' and had to name a fruit or vegetable instead of an animal."

They made maracas out of plastic cups and used dried beans for a math activity. Preschooler Daniel Michel of Rye really enjoyed this task.

"This is so cool," he said.

Story time included a book about a rabbit learning to enjoy eating carrots. And to wrap things up, a shamrock scavenger hunt offered a chance for the preschoolers to search for different colored shamrocks.

Preschooler Taig Healey of Hampton was thrilled with the scavenger hunt. "Can we hide shamrocks at school and do that again?," he asked.

"The experience was great and worthwhile," said Antanavich, a WHS junior and Seabrook resident. "When I graduate from Winnacunnet, I plan on going to college to become a preschool teacher."

WHS senior Marissa Correll of Hampton equally valued the time with the preschoolers. "It gave me a real life experience. I know what to expect working with kids," she said. "This has really influenced my decision for education in the future, thanks to Mrs. Smart.

Preschooler Alex Harrington of Hampton was eager to return to WHS. "He said it was fun and asked if we could go back on the next day of school," French said.

"We would absolutely go back to WHS with the preschoolers," Hamel said. "They were so excited about the trip. The (WHS) girls did a great job."

French said the faces of Sandbox students said it all.

"They were made to feel comfortable and confident," she said. "Everyone was beaming after the experience. I was impressed with how well their program was conducted."

Both parties hope to see the program evolve in the future.

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