Child Development Students Celebrate Week of the Young Child

Rascal’s Bar and Grill Opens Doors to Parents and Children.

Around 30 children and their parents visited Rascal’s Bar and Grill in Apple Valley on Monday, April 14, 2008, for an evening of food, fun and games to celebrate the Week of the Young Child, a community-oriented event sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, or NAEYC.

Four students in the Child Development program at Dakota County Technical College organized the evening at Rascal’s, which included stories, puppet making, face painting, craft projects, take-home activities and a raffle.

Bellamy “Krisi” Watschke, 30, of Farmington, works at Rascal’s as a server while studying for her A.A.S. degree in child development. Watschke said that the Week of the Young Child, which ran April 13-19, is designed to celebrate children and raise awareness of their needs. She noted that the evening at Rascal’s focused on literacy.

“We read two books to the children,” Watschke explained, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. We had activities related to the books and the kids just loved it. We also had a parents information area with a list of good books for kids and community education materials provided by local libraries.”

Child development students Liz Vogt, Kaylee Raisl and Jessica Wells also participated in the celebration. Along with Watschke, they impressed the parents with their professionalism and energy—so much so that a few of the parents tried to hire them for family picnics and company events.

“Everyone had a great time,” said Watschke, who will graduate this summer and plans to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education from Southwest Minnesota State University through an articulation program that allows her to take classes at DCTC. “I wish to thank Rascal’s for opening their doors to us. We really brought our community together for children.”

Rob Chadwick, a manager at Rascal’s, said that he and his staff were thrilled to host the event, which was something different for their restaurant. “It was great to see the parents bringing out their small children,” he said. “We would be proud to be involved with events like this in the future. The DCTC students did an outstanding job.”

A child development instructor at the college, Dawn Braa emphasized the importance of students connecting with the community. “Our mission is to help students attain the knowledge they need to be successful in the child developmental field,” said Braa. “Educators, providers and advocates work hard planning ways to bring communities together for children. Our students did just that at Rascals by bonding with parents and children during a positive and fun social event.”

“I wish to thank Rascal’s for opening their doors to us. We really brought our community together for children.”

The Child Development program at DCTC prepares graduates for employment in a wide spectrum of early childhood environments. Courses conform to the educational requirements of the Minnesota Department of Human Services regarding assistant teachers and teachers working in a child care setting.

The program’s curriculum covers child development, guidance, professional relationships, nutrition, health and safety, cultural sensitivity and techniques for promoting learning in young children.

Graduates are qualified to work with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, school-aged children, children with special needs and parents of young children in homes, centers and community-based programs.

Depending on the level of training and experience, a student may find employment as a child care assistant teacher or teacher, director of a child care center, family child care provider, nanny, home visitor, child care resource and referral counselor, special education program assistant or child advocate.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for teacher assistants is expected to grow 10 percent between 2006 and 2016. The job outlook is best for teacher assistants with two years of formal postsecondary education.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development  and report that job opportunities are good for the state’s child care workers. Skilled child care workers with experience frequently advance to supervisory positions in large day care centers or preschools. A fair number of child care workers decide to open their own day care centers.

Graduates of the Childhood Development program with an A.S. or A.A.S. degree can transfer to Southwest Minnesota State University or the University of Wisconsin-Stout to complete their Bachelor of Science teaching degree with a focus on birth to grade three.

DCTC also has an articulation agreement with Metropolitan State University for graduates who wish to complete a B.A. in psychology and a B.A.S. in early childhood studies.

Liz Vogt, Kaylee Raisl, Bellamy "Krisi" Watschke, Jessica Wells

Liz Vogt, Kaylee Raisl, Bellamy