Unit 2 Board Learns about Early Childhood Education

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), January 19, 2018 | Go to article overview

Unit 2 Board Learns about Early Childhood Education


Byline: curtis winston contributing writer

MARION Two generations of early childhood education at Marion High School came before the Unit 2 Board of Education on Tuesday night.

Making the presentation as part of the boards monthly Examples of Excellence in Education were Rani Walker-Gross, current early childhood education instructor at MHS, and her mother, Linda Walker, retired MHS early childhood education teacher.

"We have a large amount of students who come back [as parents], their children are in our program, then in our high school program, and then their grandchildren," Walker-Gross said, highlighting a growing legacy for MHS early childhood care and education.

Walker-Gross, a 2003 MHS graduate who returned to her alma mater to teach in 2012, spoke of the opportunities presented to juniors and seniors who go through the early childhood education program.

Students earn dual credit at MHS and John A. Logan College, with further studies in early childhood education 90 percent backed by guaranteed scholarships through the Gateways Partner in Education program. Additionally, Walker-Gross noted, the Gateways scholarship will fund graduate studies and guarantee job placement in early childhood education, "a field thats really lacking right now."

Due to winter weather, no students were on hand as part of Tuesday nights presentation, but the board viewed a video from Milana Manfredo, a 2014 MHS graduate who will graduate this year from Missouris Lindenwood University. The MHS early childhood curriculum gave her a leg up on her college studies, with several hours of coursework waived.

At the heart of MHSs Early Childhood program is Kiddie City, a private education initia

tive that started in 1973 and has grown over the years to have its own wing at the high school. The "school readiness program" offers morning lessons two days a week to children from ages 3 to 5, with MHS students gaining experience teaching the youngsters.

Enrollment in Kiddie City is competitive, and is full for the next three school years, Walker-Gross said.

Walker-Gross noted that she herself started as a Kiddie City student, was then a Kiddie City teacher as an MHS student and then program director. …

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