TMHS’s Childcare Program


Brianna Iandoli

There are many unique courses to choose from here at Tewksbury Memorial High School (TMHS), offering almost any class that you can think of. There is a class available to fit every student’s needs, specifically for those who want to deal with children in their future. Whether it be becoming a teacher, a babysitter, or just wanting to prepare for when you start your own family, there is a class for that; childcare. Childcare is a half year course, taught by Mrs. Nicole Smallidge, along with Ms. Kaileigh Merrill. Mrs. Smallidge is the teacher who not only deals with the preschoolers, but also teaches high schoolers during class time when the preschoolers are not present. Ms. Merrill, on the other hand, who is the teacher directed toward the preschoolers, does not teach high schoolers at any point in her day. A class of around sixteen preschoolers attend TMHS for their education, and it is the teachers and high schoolers job to assist them in accomplishing their academic goals. There are three levels of childcare, 1, 2, and 3, each getting increasingly harder, enduring more responsibilities dealing with the children, as well as creating more projects, and learning more information.

Childcare 1 is mostly basic information that is taught by Mrs. Smallidge, as well as their responsibilities with the children being more based off of playing and less education based. Childcare 2’s lessons taught by Mrs. Smallidge are more advanced, and their responsibilities increase in teaching the preschoolers. Childcare 2 and 3 are in charge of teaching the preschoolers more advanced skills, such as counting, as well as creating the projects that the kids complete in class that relate to the topics that they are learning about. Childcare 3 is primarily creating projects and learning in-depth lessons, while teaching the preschoolers to the best of their ability, almost as they are actual teachers.

The preschoolers are at school from 9:00 to 12:00 every weekday, or most of second through fourth block. When the kids are present, the high schoolers play with them, while also teaching them by helping them complete projects such as counting, writing their names, or spelling. Whatever the kids want to play, the high schoolers will play, unless it is breaking any rule, of course. Every toy has a certain area to be played in, and they have certain shelves to be returned to afterward. The preschoolers and high schoolers must work together throughout the day, whether it’s projects, running around at the playground, or playing with toys.

Since the preschoolers are only in school from 9:00 to 12:00, there are two blocks, first and last, where the class is only high schoolers and Mrs. Smallidge. During these blocks, Mrs. Smallidge teaches different lessons on child or family development, such as types of punishment, teen pregnancy, the stages of a child’s mental capacity, etc. All of the lessons taught will be useful during the class as well as outside of school in your own life either now or in the future. There are occasional tests and essays on the materials being taught.

Although preschool is meant to be fun and enjoyable for not only the kids, but for the high schoolers, as well, there must be rules to keep everyone in check, providing guidelines and boundaries. Some of the most important rules for the preschoolers are where each toy belongs both on the shelves and while being used around the classroom, they can not interrupt each other in circle time, which is a time designated for the kids to sit in a circle and listen to directions, share stories, or be read to, and they must keep their hands to themselves. Some of the primary rules for high schoolers are they can not have their phones on them during class time with the kids, they can not swear around the preschoolers, they must interact with their kids, they must discipline the kids appropriately, etc.

Each high schooler has one preschooler for three class periods, sometimes partnered up with another high schooler. Every three classes, the preschooler gets a new “big kid,” or high schooler, and it is frowned upon for a high schooler to request to have, or to not have, a specific kid, as they all must be treated equally. High schoolers are not allowed to discuss anything about the children in a negative way at any point in their day, no matter what the circumstances are. If a student is caught talking about the preschoolers, in a bad way, they will most likely face punishments that are decided by Mrs. Smallidge and Ms. Merrill.

The elective is taught by Mrs. Smallidge, who is an extremely great teacher, and person. She is an excellent teacher for both the high schoolers and preschoolers, as she makes sure everyone is enjoying themselves, while working hard during class. She always pushes her students to work to their full potential not only in class, but in their personal lives as well. Mrs. Smallidge is a great person to talk to outside of class for anything you need, varying from life advice, any types of problem you have, or if you just want to hang out and talk. Ms. Merrill is a great choice to teach preschoolers their basic life and school skills, as she ensures that each child is working to the best of their ability, while having fun doing so. Both teachers are very nice and helpful, always putting their students’ needs before their own.

Childcare is a very helpful course to take for various reasons. Childcare helps people prepare for their future lives if they are planning on having children, or working with children, such as becoming a teacher or daycare provider, or just developing the skills needed for day to day life incase they ever need to interact with young children. As well as the social skills learned in this course, developmental skills are also taught, allowing students to understand the concepts of how everyone develops differently, along with how good and bad disciplinary factors affect everyone. Childcare is a great course to take if you are looking to major, or minor, in any type of education or early child development, as it prepares you for future classes, as well as informing colleges that you prepared well for your future, and know more than others entering those professions. Students are taught life skills that they can use not only on young children, but on people of all ages. Childcare will teach you how to discipline children of your own, or others, how to keep them entertained, how they process ideas, and much more. Childcare is an exceptionally popular, helpful, and enjoyable, course to take in high school, and many students at TMHS would recommend it.