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Critzer preschoolers learn hands-on from snakes

IMG_0145By CALVIN PYNN

calvin@southwesttimes.com

 

Ericka Lytton’s preschool class at Critzer Elementary got the ultimate hands on learning experience on Tuesday with their most recent subject: snakes.

Dr. Jared Morgan, a veterinarian at Tipton Ridge Veterinary Medical Center right next to the school, brought a few of his slithery friends to share with the class, including a corn snake and ball python.

According to Lytton, her class has been studying snakes as the main chosen subject for the past week, and will continue on for the next couple weeks.

“With our curriculum, it’s based on what the children are interested in, so we put different things out within our classroom,” said Lytton. “If something sparks their attention, and several of them start talking about it, then that’s what we end up rolling with, and it happened to be snakes.”

As part of what Lytton titled the “Creative Curriculum,” the children have been learning facts about snakes, as well as embedding preschool skills into snake related activities. Those have included counting, measuring, number identification, and one to one correspondence.

Other parts of those lessons include sorting objects by characteristics, comparing similarities and differences, and recognizing letters. By bringing in Dr. Morgan to teach the kids firsthand about snakes, Lytton felt that her students received a more engaging, interactive learning experience.

Dr. Morgan, who has been doing classroom presentations for the better part of nearly 20 years, shared facts about his snakes as some teachers in the classroom held them.

Later, he gave the students a chance to pet the snakes. Most of the class even came up one by one to let one of the snakes sit in their laps.

Although Dr. Morgan has a specific interest in snakes, he said his passions are not restricted to them.

“I like all animals,” Morgan said. “Snakes are very fascinating, with their diversity, color, and shapes, but I’m a big fan of anything, whether it’s a snake, tarantula, dog, cat, all of them.”

According to Dr. Morgan, having the one on one experience with snakes can actually help the children learn a multitude of important lessons.

“It’s really important for kids to get exposed to as much as possible, whether its snakes, or science, and getting it hands-on gives them an appreciation for what they’re talking about,” said Morgan. “If they have an appreciation for the life of the diversity that’s out there, that’s just great, and if I can be part of that experience, then I’ll give it a thumbs up.”

Lytton also agreed that having a hands-on lesson like this is crucial to the children’s overall learning experience by sparking their interests.

“If the children are interested in what we’re teaching them, they’re more likely to retain that information and take it on,” said Lytton.

Lytton’s teaches an all-inclusive class, which allows students with disabilities to learn in the same space as their fellow students. To contact Dr. Morgan about bringing his lesson to the classroom, call 980-0186.

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