Merrimack child development class gets hands-on experience

Who doesn’t love gingerbread men?

This holiday season, Merrimack High School teacher Nicole Rollend‘s child development class traveled to Ledge Street Elementary School in Nashua to spend time with the first-grade students and have some fun in the process.

"My child development class went to the school and read a story to the kids, and then we made gingerbread men with them," said Rollend, who teaches courses relating to family and consumer science.

She coordinated the field trip with her twin sister, who teaches at Ledge Street elementary. Her class met with the children on Thursday, Dec. 12, during school, and they enjoyed spending time with the younger students.

Senior Melanie Glick said her favorite part of the experience was "seeing how happy the kids were when they saw us and realized we would be doing something fun with them."

Upon their arrival at the elementary school, the class of 14 high school students split up into different groups. Each of the small groups visited a different classroom, where they read a book to the class about gingerbread fairies before engaging the students in decorating gingerbread men with them.

Later, when Rollend’s class returned to Merrimack High, they made gift bags with gingerbread ornaments for each of the 95 children they had visited.

"My foods class made granola bars to put in the gift bags as well," Rollend added.

But her classes weren’t the only one to send tokens of their appreciation. After the field trip, the child development class received thank-you notes from the kids they had visited. Each child created a paper gingerbread man to thank the older students for their work.

This sort of activity is nothing new for Rollend’s high school students, who regularly encounter hands-on experience.

"In Rollend’s class, we learn about child development – at what ages children start to do things, and disorders that can occur in children," Glick said. "(Once a week) we go down to the elementary school down the street, and we each have a classroom we help out in."

It sounds like those kids are in good hands.

Emily is a senior at Merrimack High School.