(Editor's Note: Amaiana Sajjad is a senior at North Plainfield High School and an intern with TAPinto North Plainfield.) 

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Through the Child Development – Level 1 course at North Plainfield High School (NPHS) students are learning about the development of children while also assisting with the district’s preschool program.

The course, offered through the district’s Family and Consumer Sciences Department, is designed to teach high school students about child growth. For 2016-2017 there are over 100 students in ninth through 12th grade enrolled in the class, which is run by teacher Gurpreet Kaur.

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NPHS students attend Child Development classes every school day and learn about the social, emotional, intellectual, and physical growth of children. Child development principles and theories of Piaget, Erikson, Vygotsky, Montessori and Gardner are also discussed and taught. Additionally, students also obtain information about early childhood careers through 
hands-on exploration, projects, and group learning.

Through the program, the high school students also help run North Plainfield’s preschool program, connecting written material with real life experiences.

From October through June, children enrolled in the district’s preschool program come to the high school for two-hour sessions every Wednesday and Thursday. Sessions are held from 8:45 to 10:45 a.m. and from 11:45 to 1:45 p.m. both days and the preschoolers are between the ages of 3- and 5-years old and must be potty trained.

“I love interacting with the children that come in everyday with wide smiles and being a part of their lives being the good teacher that I am taught to be,” said NPHS sophomore Sion Powell.

“I [enjoy] teaching these kids and, because I want to go into children education, specifically children psychology, I enjoy this course a lot,” said NPHS Junior Nadia Hussein.

The Child Development classes also host the district’s annual preschool graduation. This year, 24 preschoolers will graduate on May 5.

According to Kaur, interest in the course is growing and plans are underway to offer a Child Development – Level 2 option for the 2017-2018 school year.

“Child Development 2 [will be available] for the students who took Child Development 1 to expand from what they already know from that course,” Kaur said. “Next year’s Level 2 course will allow the high school students to create their own lesson plans for when the children come in.”

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