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Tiny Tigers teach teens about kids’ care

by Kate Gardner

“I want ketchup, ketchup, ketchup!”

“Can you say please, please, please?”

This is not the usual conversation heard in classrooms in Douglas High School. But, then again, this is not your usual high school class. Every other day, from 8-11 a.m., day care is offered at the high school both for weary mothers and to teach high schoolers how to prepare for life with children.

“The main idea isn’t an all-day child care,” explains Gail Wilcox, overall supervisor of the class. “It is a great chance for the moms to take a few hours and get some shopping done or have time for themselves.”

Wilcox spends the first half of the year teaching teenagers about basic child care techniques, such as what games are appropriate for which age groups and what discipline is to be used for certain situations. The DHS students taking the child care and child development courses also become certified in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and are tested for TB.

“You can never be too careful these days,” says Wilcox. “We never forget that safety is the priority here.”

Many of the high school students taking the course have taken it before. Danielle Day, a senior, says that the children make her day exciting.

“I love kids, they’re really fun. Coming here in the morning makes my day brighter.”

Day also said that taking this class has made her want to look further in the field of day care,or elementary teaching.

For some students, while the class has been positive, it has also proved to them that child care isn’t the field of choice.

“The kids are great, they really make me laugh,” explains Jaymee Girdner, “but, I know that I won’t be doing this when I am older.”

While Wilcox is in charge the first semester, the students are in control the second semester.

“The kids do all the book keeping. They are the major decision makers. I am mostly here to help with major conflicts and to make sure everything runs smoothly. All I have to do is step in with my mother voice, and everything is instantly all right.”

The high school students also decide what will be served for snack time, and they prepare the food. They make the lesson and craft plans.

“I do this not only to watch the little kids, but to watch the teenagers interact with the kids,” Wilcox said. “It really is neat.”

Wilcox also said that more and more boys are enrolling in the class. This is a good thing, she explained, because men really are needed more for teaching at the elementary level.

In May, the high school students hold a graduation ceremony for the Tiny Tigers. The children are then taken to the swimming pool and a barbecue is held for the children and parents.

Wilcox says while there has been a waiting list in the past, that there now are seven spots open. The care is $6 a day, which pays for craft supplies, Play Doh and snack supplies, among many other items. Interested parents should call 782-5136 for more information.

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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