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Armstrong schools expand child development course

A child development class that features a student-operated nursery school at Kittanning High School will be expanding into a yearlong program next year.

The class was offered during spring semester at Kittanning High School. The district conducted a survey in which 110 students showed interest in taking the class. It will be offered in spring and fall semesters when Armstrong Junior-Senior High School opens in Manor next year.

As part of the course, students work at the nursery — known as the Wildcat School — with eight to 10 toddlers once a week for 90-minute sessions. Offering the class in the fall means more families will be able to use the nursery next year, said Shauna Braun-Zukowski, the district’s director of secondary curriculum.

“We want this class to be able to serve even more students and families in the community,” Braun-Zukowski said.

The class is designed for students looking to go into childcare professions and is overseen by family and consumer science teacher Tanya Gladysiewski.

“It’s a great experience for our students and the kids enrolled,” Gladysiewski said. “Some parents worry about sending their kids to kindergarten, so this is a nice way to get them used to the idea of school. And it is a nice way to help our students have hands-on experience working with children.”

Kittanning resident Jessica Thompson took her daughters, Abigail, 6, and Francesca, 4, to Wildcat School last year. She said it gives them the chance to interact with older students and adjust to a school setting.

Last year was Abigail’s final time in the program before she started kindergarten, while Francesca is eagerly waiting for it to start again this spring.

“She’s been talking about going back to school since the end of last year’s program,” Thompson said. “She would absolutely love being able to go all year long, so expanding this program is a great idea.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or [email protected].


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