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Necessity Is The Mother Of Invention

Plato famously wrote in The Republic: “Our need will be the real creator.” Or, as another proverb would have it, “necessity is the mother of invention.”  That sentiment applies to the Brewster Pre-K program–two classrooms of which are located at Brewster High School.


When the Brewster Central School District administration was trying to find space to house a pre-K program, BHS Principal Nichole Horler suggested the high school. That seed of an idea sprouted endless opportunities for not just the pre-K students, but for high school students as well.


Over this inaugural year, 100 high school students volunteered in the pre-K classrooms. For some students in the Child Development course, volunteering provided hands-on work experience. For others, it was just a way to contribute to the common good.  Student volunteers prepared activities, decorated bulletin boards, helped set up cots for naptime, read stories, helped with crafts, and interacted and played with the pre-K students.


“The relationship between the pre-K and high school students is invaluable,” explained pre-K teacher Sara Sherwood, “the high school students are wonderful role models for the little ones.”


Of course, many departments and clubs reached out to plan collaborative projects. The Science Honors students planned bi-weekly Wacky Wednesday Science experiments including rainbow science, dissolving candy canes, oozing cauldrons, magic milk, lava lamps. gingerbread playdough, Oobleck, and fizzy snowmen. The English Department started a Book Buddies reading program.  Music students demonstrated playing instruments. Art students created a Batty sponge painting and Solar Eclipse viewers.


Foreign Language put on an Italian Immersion Day complete with language lessons, mask making, songs and dance. There were two Physics Science Fairs where high school students provided hands-on learning experiences about motion, gravity, and forces while the Life Skills class provided a laundry service to wash naptime blankets through their business, Bubbly Bears.


There have been whole school building events including a Halloween Parade, Holidays around the World, holiday concerts and a preview of the school play in which the pre-K students interacted with their teenage peers.


Besides all the creative in-house specials, the Montessori-like social-emotional piece is not lost on teachers and staff. The vibe in the high school has changed. Just walking down the halls creates a positive atmosphere.


“There has been a positive impact on the high school dynamic student behavior, " said one staffer. “High school kids look out for little ones, wave and fist bump them in the hallways, make sure they are using appropriate behavior around them in the hallways, and always greet them with a smile!”