There is so much to learn when you are 4 or 5 years old. All the numbers, letters, shapes and colors are expected of these tiny tots before they even enter kindergarten. Not to mention the social and behavioral aspects they need to understand.
Although, have you spoken with a preschooler lately? They may still draw their “J” backwards, but the real world knowledge a lot of them have is really quite amazing. They may not sit still for much longer than a snack, but their questions are articulate, their answers comical and their basic conversation skills are down-right captivating.
Julie Elwell has been teaching these precocious preschoolers for five years at Grace Kids Care Center.
“I love their imaginations,” she says. “It’s crazy how much they really do know about the real world at their age.”
To teach the goals of academia, socializing and behaviors, Elwell uses various themes throughout the year. For the camping theme, she and her students made s’mores. They spoke about cooking outside and sleeping in a tent. Although very smart children, none of them knew what a canteen was.
Appropriately, in August, one of Elwell’s themes is the Iowa State Fair. They will discuss who you would go with, what you would see and, of course, what food you would eat. In past year’s she’s even set up a concession stand with tickets for her preschoolers to practice buying food.
The summer months at Grace Kids Care Center are really about having fun. During their picnic theme, they get to go the park across the street and have a picnic. Another outing includes a trip to a movie theater, popcorn included. An annual favorite is the trip to the Blank Park Zoo.
“The kids just love the petting zoo,” Elwell says.
When not teaching, Elwell loves photography, camping and fishing.
“I just went to the Omaha Zoo and took all kinds of pictures for my preschoolers,” she says.
Having just graduated from Iowa State University in May with a degree in elementary education, Elwell is well on her way to enjoying her chosen career.