Washougal High students assist in elementary classrooms

Washougal High School child development and education students are gaining hands-on job experience by assisting in classrooms at Gause Elementary School this year.

The “innovative program” exposes students to possible career paths in the education field while earning high school and college credits, according to a news release issued by the Washougal School District.

“Students learn highly transferable skills in this class,” said Washougal High School teacher Carla Ecklund. “Students taking child development and education (classes) may be interested in becoming teachers, pediatricians, childcare workers, paraeducators, children’s dieticians, and more in the future.”

Child development and education is a part of the school’s career and technical education (CTE) program, which designs classes that allow for early career exploration.

“I do a mix of observing and helping out, and then I go back to my class at the high school and write notes about what I did and what I learned and what was being taught,” said Washougal High student Claire Zakovics, who spends time in Gause Elementary School classrooms each week, helping to assist with homework grading, provide one-on-one support to younger students and more.

“When we’re mapping out course curriculum, our focus is on how to best prepare students for successful careers and lives in the future,” said Margaret Rice, the WSD’s CTE director. “This class prepares high school students interested in working with children for successful futures. It gives them the opportunity to apply classroom learning while supporting elementary school students in their classroom.”