Think the students at UW-Green Bay look a little shorter these days? Don’t worry. Some are supposed to.
The Ecumenical Center at UW-Green Bay is one of the host sites for the 4-year-old kindergarten program offered through the Green Bay Area Public School District.
UW-Green Bay students contribute to the program by serving as student-teaching assistants for the class that meets on campus. The partnership is a win-win for both the University, its students and faculty as well as the public school district, its teachers and the young learners.
“I could not have done this semester without them,” kindergarten teacher Michelle Miles said of the UW-Green Bay student-teachers. “They just give me another pair of eyes in the classroom and it’s just a great help.”
The partnership was initiated this year.
“The Green Bay Area School District has been very excited to be on campus here and it’s been very positive,” said Prof. Tim Kaufman, chair of the Professional Program in Education.
Prof. Tim Kaufman
Chair, Professional Program in Education
Well, we were very excited last year when we were approached by the Green Bay School District to possibly consider an on-site location for their pre-kindergarten program. We worked hard over the summer to secure that and were able to do that as a partnership at the Ecumenical Center.
Starting in September, there’s half-day mornings where students, 4-K students, come for approximately three hours in the mornings. And what we’re able to do, which is very exciting, is actually get many pre-service teachers to work with these students during those days.
Junior, Education major
To become a teacher, the best way to really improve is to see how it’s done, get in a classroom, get hands-on experience. Having the 4-K right on campus is really a convenient thing. You don’t waste travel time and you can just walk over here. It’s perfect, the perfect setup really. And getting to interact with the kids… you never know what they’re going to throw at you. You don’t know what a day’s going to bring.
Junior, Education major
It’s really critical, that hands-on time with the kids. It’s one thing learning about what to do in the classroom, but when you get there and you put yourself in the teacher’s shoes, you see discipline, and what a challenge it is in the classroom. You get to know the students, which is something you wouldn’t if you didn’t have that hands-on involvement.
4-K teacher, Green Bay Public Schools
I could not have done this semester without them. They just give me another pair of eyes in the classroom and it’s just a great help.
I think, at this age, at the 4-year-old developmental level, they really need more one-on-one so that having more students in here gives me the ability to help meet those needs.
The GB Area School District has been very exited to be on campus here and it’s been really positive. One of the things that we really stress in the preparation of teachers is building positive relationships; hands-on chances to work with students. I think that it’s very unique and something that wasn’t available in the past. When we actually had the chance to look to have this on campus, I know we were very excited and the dean, Dean (Fritz) Erickson and myself and others worked hard to make this happen
The practical experience is what gives you what you need as a teacher. And so without this vital time that they have here, you know, you can go to all the college classes you want in a classroom, and listen to lectures and do book work. But until you’re actually out here, you really don’t know what it’s like. So I think having this practical time just gives them a better picture of what they’re getting into. Is teaching for me? Is it not for me? Do I want to continue in this? Overall, I think this first semester at UWGB has been very positive for all of them.
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