WEST ORANGE, NJ - In conjunction with Dr. Seuss’s birthday, the national Read Across America campaign, and other school wide activities, Gregory and Kelly Elementary School students were treated to visits from students from the state-approved Career and Technical Education Early Childhood program at West Orange High School on March 1.
Students from Early Childhood and Family Studies II classes read children’s books by Dr. Seuss like "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "The Lorax," led fun activities ranging from planting seeds and creating interactive beetles to decorating colorful fish and masks.
Early Childhood and Family Studies teacher Cyndee Critelli and Mrs. Tindall, WOHS Library Media Specialist, accompanied the WOHS students. Critelli prepared the high school students for weeks before their elementary school visits, giving suggestions about reading levels, activities, and classroom management techniques and helping them gather and organize supplies. The host teachers were duly impressed. Kelly third grade teacher Jennifer Imperial said, “After hearing the story "It’s Okay to be Different" and completing a group puzzle, my third graders aren’t “puzzled” about being different. They know they are all accepted for their similarities and tolerant of their differences!”
The WOHS students were pleasantly surprised as well. Senior Michelle Montesleoca said, “The experience really opened my eyes to being a teacher, and that is the career path I want to pursue.” Junior Anu Adegbite commented, “Experiencing first hand, the perks of teaching such wonderful and disciplined students was such a rewarding experience, beneficial for them as well as us!”
Principals Michelle Thompson and Joanne Pollara, teachers, and organizers at the respective schools were truly pleased with the visit. Mrs. Thompson stated,” Gregory School students enjoyed celebrating the 20th anniversary of Read Across America Day with West Orange High School students. Read Across America celebrates Seuss' birthday and the joys of reading. Our students loved having the high school students read to them and then complete an activity. They were grinning ear to ear when leaving school with their awesome projects!”
“I was truly impressed with the maturity, creativity, and enthusiasm of the high school students and the attentiveness of the elementary students. The teachers and students at Gregory and Kelly Schools, who graciously welcomed us, were treated to educational and enjoyable stories and activities,” said Mrs.Tindall. “We look forward to many more years of this special collaboration.”