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Column: Hi-Ho offers plenty of learning for volunteers

By TRACIE LUINENBURG, Hi-Ho Preschool Teacher

WORTHINGTON — As we travel down the halls of the Worthington Christian School, we come into the Hi-Ho Preschool classroom. There’s definitely a lot of coming and going, singing and marching, caring and sharing and lots of fun with lots of little ones. As part of our training young children, we incorporate many different facets of development and education.

One of our teaching strategies is using music. Each and every day we sing many songs that not only are fun for the students, but also help them learn. We also work on the large muscles and fine motor skills of each child by allowing them to move and play outside on the playground in the spring and fall. In the cold winter months, we spend our days playing in the large gymnasium just outside our classroom.

Of course, one of the most obvious goals for our preschoolers is to work on their cognitive abilities. One of the first things that students do when they enter the classroom is to come in and recognize their own name. Working on writing their names is also an important aspect. First we work with the dot-to-dot method, and then as the year moves on we work on getting them to write it on their own. We also study each and every letter of the alphabet to help preschoolers recognize their letters and challenge them to associate the sounds that the letters make. Another very important lesson in a preschooler’s life that cannot be forgotten is the development of their social skills. As teachers, we strive to see that all of our preschoolers learn to play and share with their friends which, in turn, helps them learn the value of friendships and teamwork as they grow.

Our teaching goals are not limited to the classroom structure. We like to show our preschoolers that learning goes beyond a letter with a seat at the carpet or table. Learning can take place anywhere! In the fall we travel to either the local apple orchard or Grandpa’s Fun Farm, and we also take a trip to the fire station during Fire Prevention Week to help teach the kids about fire safety. Trips to the public library make for a fun look into the world of books, and every spring we enjoy visiting our local hospital. A local police officer comes into our classroom to tell the children about bike safety and stranger danger as we head into the summer months.

Hi-Ho ends the year with a wonderful celebration of our year together. We sing songs to show family and friends all the fun things learned throughout the year. For the older students this is their final hooray as we place the preschool graduation hats on their little heads! We are always proud to see our preschoolers be well adjusted and ready for the transition into kindergarten. This program tops off all of our goals and hard work throughout the year.

Hi-Ho Preschool works in accordance with the licensure of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. We strive to work towards the encouragement, betterment and education of preschool-age children in our community. Seeing our preschooler transition from our Hi-Ho classroom into kindergarten is sometimes sad, but we know that education and growth is an important part of any child’s development.

We invite you to come see for yourself what Hi-Ho Preschool has to offer your special little one at our Open House Celebration from 4 to 7 p.m. March 13 in our classroom at Worthington Christian School (1770 Eleanor St.).