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Promoting together time

Students in two phases of life begin new collaboration

 

 

After almost a year of passing each other in the halls, some of Brookside Education Center’s older and younger students are getting to know each other.

“I didn’t know their names,” said pre-kindergartener Brennen Shaw after he finished pounding a baggie of Oreo cookies with a small wooden mallet. Now, he does.

Students in Katrina Pedersen’s pre-kindergarten class at Brookside Education Center excitedly wait to eat their dirt cups. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

During the activity, Shaw was under the eye of Transitions program student Cameron Schultz. Transitions, an education program at Brookside for students with disabilities aged 18-21, is spending Katrina Pedersen’s pre-kindergarten class’s free choice time with them. On Tuesday, that meant making edible dirt cups complete with gummy worms (Pedersen’s class is in the midst of a bug unit).

Pedersen’s pre-kindergarten class had 15 students and the Transitions program has four participating. Students in the Transitions program each had a different color name tag, which matched them up with a group of pre-kindergarteners with the same color tag.

The Transitions program and Katrina Pedersen’s pre-kindergarten class at Brookside Education Center made edible dirt cups with gummy worms together on Tuesday. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Transitions student Anita Maloney said it has been fun being around the younger students.

“I liked hanging out with them and it’s fun, and I like talking to them,” she said.

Transitions teacher Lori Nelson said the two classes coming together has given her new insight on her students.

Students top off their dirt cups with gummy worms before eating them Tuesday. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

“It helped me realize that Cam could do very well working in some kind of job with little kids,” Nelson said.

Schultz said working with the younger students brings back memories of his own younger sister and of the children he has worked with at his church.

He said that since the students have begun sharing some classroom time, the younger students have remembered his name and begun saying hello to him in the hallway.

Students in Katrina Pedersen’s pre-kindergarten class at Brookside Education Center put together edible dirt cups during free time Tuesday. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune

Pedersen said the time together is providing the younger students an opportunity to learn from someone older and to build relationships.

“Every day they ask for (the Transitions students) to come over,” Pedersen said of her pre-kindergarteners.

Schultz said he hopes the pre-kindergarten class learns from the Transitions students about growing up.

“You know, it’s fun to hear them say what they want to do when they grow up because I bet you said that a lot when you were little, too,” Schultz said. “You know, we all did. It’s nice to see that.”

Tuesday was the third time the students had spent in-class time together. Moving forward, Nelson said she is hoping for the classes to collaborate more than once a week. She would also like to continue the practice into the new school year.

“I’m glad we took the plunge,” she said.

Students in Katrina Pedersen’s pre-kindergarten class at Brookside Education Center put together edible dirt cups during free time Tuesday. – Colleen Harrison/Albert Lea Tribune


About Sarah Kocher

Sarah covers education and arts and culture for the Tribune.

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