Otsego Kiddie Kollege (OKK) is Otsego County’s best kept secret! Area high school seniors, who want to enter nursing or early childhood education fields, become the teachers for this preschool program at the Otsego Area BOCES. They take turns being the lead teacher, they plan their own lessons, they come up with their own weekly themes and daily activities, and they keep the children active with hands on learning around every corner.
“Dress like a Farmer Day” Morgan didn’t want to wear the John Deere hat we have because she wanted to be a “pretty farmer”-thus the purple overalls and big flower in her hair! The kids got to watch a baby duck swimming in a small pool in their classroom, they got to see a baby turken, and they got to pet a calf, a pig, and Morgan’s favorite… a ferret!
These student teachers are under the direction of a wonderful woman, Mrs. Nancy Lutz, who treats each and every child as if they were a part of her own family. She takes on the job of guiding the student teachers and creates such a warm and nurturing environment that can’t be beat.
The teachers are often nervous in the beginning, but they quickly learn that the children, and even some of the parents, are usually just as nervous. They kneel down so that they are eye to eye with the children and not so intimidating. They take them by the hand and get them involved in activities right away. It doesn’t take long before the kids are at ease and are even upset when they have to leave. Even the younger siblings want to stay-it’s just that inviting. When the parents come to pick up their children, they always get there 15 minutes early just to sneak a peek through the hall window and observe their little one ‘in action’. Seeing them during show-and-tell was always a treat! I even got to join the class a few times and take pictures of the little ones having fun!
We loved this program so much that we sent our oldest daughter for two years in a row… and now our youngest has just completed her second year. Her graduation was a very bittersweet moment in time for us. We are all very excited for her to be heading into kindergarten in the Fall; but at the same time, we are sad to say good-bye to the student teachers, to Kiddie Kollege, and most of all, Mrs. Lutz. We will miss you; but hope to come visit when our good friend, Dunham, graduates!!
Our Sweet Little Graduate!
The proud Big Sister!
Onward to Kindergarten….Mrs. Whiteman and Mrs. Lippitt, here we come!