Area high schools to offer “Baby Think It Over” course

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

If you see little children running around at one of Henry County’s public high schools later this school year, there is a reason for it.

All of the county’s high schools have a class for students interested in early education. For some of those schools, an extension of that class is a daycare facility that operates a few days a week during the second semester of the year.

The size of the program varies according to the school. Susan Bryan expects to have between 150 and 200 students in her seven classes at Ola High School this year. As one of the relatively new schools in the district from a construction standpoint, she has a larger classroom and a bigger play area for the little ones when they are there.

The first semester consists of learning about how child care facilities are operated with regard to state guidelines and other issues. The second semester includes hands-on learning in the form of interaction with little ones.

“It’s mostly a lab for the students,” she said of the child care operation. “It’s like a Mom’s Morning Out program for the parents.”

The cost is extremely low compared to other similar programs, since the school charges only for materials and supplies. Bryan has a waiting list at her school. Last year’s program operated from 9:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Children who attend the facility during the second semester are standard pre-kindergarten age (three or four years old) and must be potty-trained. As with most child care facilities, there are a host of activities for children including specific learning opportunities and free play.

Students in grades 9-12 can take up to three early childhood education courses in sequence. The first one is the foundational course and the subsequent ones build upon it. Students eventually cover such topics as state regulation requirements, health and safety, childhood illness and child abuse, and much more. The third year offers an internship opportunity under the supervision of a certified early childhood educator.

The first-year course includes a “Baby Think It Over” opportunity where the student is able to take a computerized baby home overnight to get first-hand experience in taking care of a baby which actually cries, who needs to be fed, coddled and have its diaper changed.