BYU-Idaho offers affordable preschool and toddler daycare to students, faculty and Rexburg community members.
The Child Labs normally hold preschool for children ages 3-5 and a toddler lab for 18-36 month-olds. For six months, the Child Labs could not operate due to the threat of COVID-19 and subsequent campus closure. This fall semester, they are running once again with new instruction methods and off-campus modifications to keep both the children and teachers safe.
Students studying child development, early childhood special education, professional preschool or family consumer science education teach the classes as part of their practicum course. They learn hands-on about how to teach young children in a real preschool atmosphere.
“We have three different groups running and all very exciting approaches,” said Kriss Pond, child labs coordinator.
Of those three labs this semester, two are held over Zoom. A modified in-person lab is being held in elementary schools around the Rexburg area.
There are 19 students studying early childhood special education who need experience working with preschool-age children with special needs. They are each assigned in special education classrooms across four school districts and in four local schools.
“We’re following the health and safety guidelines put forth by the districts, but are prepared to do some remote teaching and learning if the conditions change and the public preschools (are) not accessible,” said David Allen, faculty advisor for the early child special education class.
The preschool class is held solely over Zoom for a group of 12 local 4-year-olds. Each Friday, the teachers meet the children on the curb outside the John L. Clarke building and hand them their “grab bag” of assignments and materials for the following week of Zoom school.
This is a free, seven-week class for preschoolers to receive interactive remote instruction. 12 student teachers for this class meet together on campus, paired in three teaching groups on Zoom for the 4-year-olds. The student-teachers create lessons designed to work with each child’s strengths and interests.
“As in a BYU-I face-to-face class, our goal is to create a caring environment where a child can build relationships and make new friends in their remote class,” said Kim Eagar, faculty advisor over the preschool class.
A virtual toddler lab is also being held over Zoom with 28 students teaching 28 toddlers located all throughout the country. Each class period lasts 30 minutes and includes several activities to keep the toddlers engaged with the screen.
This is a pilot class that both toddlers and their parents or caregivers can attend together. The curriculum for each week’s instruction is emailed to the families in order to facilitate learning activities between toddlers and their families.
“We are striving to create a collaborative experience between our students and families,” said Jillisa Cranmer, faculty advisor over the virtual toddler lab. “We are discovering new ways of connecting with families and with children in a supportive home environment (so) that families can participate in our child labs without living in Rexburg.”
This new virtual toddler lab instruction reaches a greater group of families living all around the country, instead of only those local to Rexburg. The faculty are hoping to keep this remote instruction an option for future semesters even after in-person and on-campus labs resume.
For more information on the child labs, or to enroll your child in a lab for the following semester, visit the BYU-I Child Labs page.