Pennsbury High School Student Goes Back to Nursery School

Vanessa Nolan's virtual nursery school student
Image via Vanessa Nolan at the Bucks County Courier Times.
Cora, now 5, was one of Vanessa Nolan's virtual students during an online nursery school class at Pennsbury High School.

High School student Vanessa Nolan augmented her Junior-year Chemistry and Algebra classes with lessons in numbers and colors. She wasn’t learning these basics, she was teaching them.

The swap to nursery-school instruction was part of her Pennsbury High School curriculum. She wrote about working with pre-K children firsthand for the Bucks County Courier Times

In prior years at Pennsbury, the high-school/nursery-school pairings were 1:1. 

Not this year. 

COVID-19 pushed Nolan to adapt to online instruction quickly. 

“This opened up a whole new way of learning and teaching,” she reported. “Instead of assigning each high-school student with a specific preschooler, we were put into groups with 2-3 high-school students and one preschooler. 

“At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I babysat children in the past, so I was comfortable in my knowledge of working with children. But I had never done it online.” 

With time, Nolan and her student figured things out. Before long, the tot was counting days of the month, describing the current weather and learning the alphabet three letters at a time. 

Technology sometimes proved difficult. 

“The hardest thing about working virtually was muting and unmuting,” Nolan said. “Some [students] had parents helping them. But others had a lot of background noise. It could be very distracting.” 

Nolan came out of the experience with a newfound respect for teachers who work this way full time. 

More on Vanessa Nolan’s nursery school experience is in the Bucks County Courier Times. 

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