ECD Opportunity

How Paly’s ECD class provides students with more options for post high school plans


Juliana Griswold, Staff Writer

One of my most significant memories of working with kids in the preschool classroom was late first semester in my junior year, during snack time for the kids. The preschool teacher let me read books to the students at this time, since I only had one hour, twice a week, in the classroom with them. Today among the book options was “Mouse Paint” by Ellen Stoll Walsh, a book I immediately recognized and one the children expressed an interest in reading.

The story starts with three white mice hiding on a white canvas from a cat, but one day the mice stumble upon some paint containers, and decide to bathe in the different colors.

The mice soon began mixing the paints with their bodies, and as the story got to this section, the preschool teacher pushed an available easel towards me. The three primary colors, red, yellow, and blue, were already in paint buckets at the trough at the bottom of the easel canvas, and a paintbrush had been made available to me as well. 

The teacher told me to use them while I told the story, as it would be more engaging for the kids. So, as the mice stepped into the blue paint and the yellow paint in the story, I asked the kids what color it would make. With a variety of responses, I then turned towards the easel and mixed the colors in front of them, where they were able to witness an embarrassingly too-blue green be made, but it was green enough for them to recognize it as such. 

This process continued as I read the rest of the story: guesses, mixing colors and “a-ha” moments when the kids recognized the colors which had been created. 

Impromptu lessons like these are exactly the reason why Early Childhood Development class at Palo Alto High School is so valuable. I was fully engaged with the children, as they were with me, the story and the paints. It was a learning experience for everyone, for the children as they learned their colors, and for me as I learned how to engage and support the children as I read them the story.

It was spring of my sophomore year when I had first learned about the dual enrollment ECD classes offered at my school with Foothill College. I decided to spend my lunch period at the informational session to learn more about the program and classes. After hearing I would get in-person learning experiences at Palo Alto Unified School District’s Greedell, the preschool and young-fives school, I signed up. 

Two years later, I have taken all three classes the pathway offers, and am so grateful for all the knowledge these classes and in-person learning experiences have offered me, and the opportunities that were only made possible because of this program.

Not only does Paly’s ECD pathway offer truly engaging learning experiences, it also provides a unique opportunity to high school students: credentials for employment. Taking two of the dual enrollment classes, with qualifying grades, qualifies you to get an Assistant Teaching permit. This permit in turn gives you the credentials to get a job in a preschool classroom, straight out of high school.

Also, the dual enrollment classes give UC and CSU transferable credits. Dual enrollment classes are a great way to get college ready and to get college credit while still in high school. 

For students who don’t see higher education as an option straight out of high school, this program still gives you credentials to get a job straight out of high school, which is becoming a rarer opportunity in the current climate.

Having recently done the forms, along with a few other steps required towards getting the permit, I now have a whole new job market available to me. While I do plan to pursue higher education as part of my post-high school plans, having this permit gives me more options in my job search.

This class not only teaches the theories and applicable information about working with kids, but also gives real world experience in the preschool classroom, which is extremely valuable to becoming a qualified educator, and for anyone who works with kids.

If you have room in your schedule, I fully encourage any interested Paly students to be part of the ECD program. You too can have a whole avenue of new learning experiences and job opportunities available to you, if you so choose to take this path. 


Photo by Juliana Griswold