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Columbia Missourian

FROM READERS: Stephens College Children's School welcomes education majors into the classroom

March 26, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT
A Stephens College junior education major works with preschool students in class at Stephens College Children's School.

Lindsey Clifton has been a lead teacher at Stephens College Children's School for six years. She is responsible for observing the school's Cluster Plan for the Spring 2013 semester.

Stephens College Children’s School welcomed Stephens juniors into classrooms this semester as part of our annual Cluster Plan.


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The experience lets junior education majors prepare and deliver lesson plans — and then figure out what they need to tweak so individual children can actually process the information!

It’s a huge learning experience for our future teachers. Although they start visiting the Stephens College lab school their first week as freshmen to observe classroom settings, this is really the first time they’ve planned entire school days without the assistance of our lead teachers.

And the children are having a blast! During the Cluster process, the 10 juniors are rotating small groups to teach our youngsters about Missouri symbols, different forms of media (the children were fascinated by the concept of a rotary phone!), hibernation and weather disasters.

Older elementary students are learning about other countries, civil and women’s rights and the Iditarod.

The Cluster Plan has been part of our education program since the 1970s, but this year, we expanded it from two weeks to four weeks, allowing the juniors to spend two weeks in and experience both elementary and preschool settings.

At the end of the four weeks, the juniors will discuss their class lessons, how in-depth they were able to explore subjects and talk about what they might have done differently.

Then, on April 25, the education department will host a showcase, allowing all 10 juniors to set up a display booth and share pictures and stories from their experiences with the Stephens community.

To see photos from the Cluster Plan, click through the slideshow below:

If you can't see the slideshow embedded above, view it on Flickr here. To view the captions of these photos, view the slideshow in full screen and click on "show info" in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.