They are tomorrow’s nurses, childcare workers, teachers and mums…so what better way to get acquainted with babies and toddlers than to start early, caring for children at high school.
Year 12 students at St Norbert College are opening their classroom doors and hearts to babies and toddlers this month as part of their family, children and community studies.
The St Norbert Gnomes Playgroup is a 25-year-old college tradition running every Tuesday until September 24 every year.
Students provide arts and crafts, planned activities such as treasure hunts, morning tea and cuddles to the offspring of ex-students, staff on maternity leave and infants and preschoolers connected to the college community.
Teacher Samantha Mark said the practical nature of the program is invaluable for students.
“It’s full-on and it doesn’t matter how many times you read about the development or behaviour of a two year old, it’s when you are with them that you really learn,” she said.
“The students are focused on nursing, teaching and early childhood studies, so
this is a great introduction and forms a large part of their assessment.’’
Year 12 student Jo’hanna Langley said the St Norbert Gnomes is an insight into how parenting will be in the future.
“Each week, each child’s behaviour isn’t the same so we have to adapt and ﬁnd ways to keep the child enjoying the activities,” she said.
“I have learned that every child is unique, each entitled to their own interests, behaviour, skills and ability range.
“It has taught me how to deal with children that aren’t so happy with the activities and those who are too excited.”
Mr Langley said the program has pushed her out of her comfort zone with children and now feels like she can help any child out in any situation.
The program has also inspired Year 12 student Lee-Ann Lothian to ﬁnd interest in child psychology.
“It’s very interesting to see how the children cope and behave and has broadened my perspective about my career,” she said.
“Working with my fellow classmates for this assignment has brought us closer which is key as it is our last year.”