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Philadelphia students learning about early childhood education

Philadelphia students learning about early childhood education
Philadelphia students learning about early childhood education 02:42

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Philadelphia School District students are getting hands-on experience when it comes to early childhood education.

All it takes is love and attention to keep these young and inquisitive minds occupied inside KenCrest West Early Learning Center. 

"Sometimes I call her Katie, sometimes I call her Khadija, that's one of my little babies," high school senior Mikail Grant said. 

Grant, a Parkway West High School senior, has become a big brother to dozens of preschoolers and even some infants.

"When you meet their needs they are like the sweetest little things," Grant said.

Teacher Yenda Hall, or Miss Hall as her students call her, is spearheading one of the few Philadelphia high school early childhood career technical education programs. For the first part of the day, students are tucked away in a small classroom. 

"We go over some ECE (Educational Credential Evaluators) questions, some of our test questions, some of our theory questions. Then we go over what they are going to do in a day, what they are doing in their classrooms," Hall said.  

Once class is dismissed it's time to get to work.

"We have male students. You don't see a lot of students in the ECE field. Here we see our males working with the younger children, they are able to tell you what they are doing, what the children are experiencing," Hall said. 

From playing with LEGOs to breakfast duty, or getting some fresh air during playtime, students are learning fundamental skills if they decide to pursue a career with early childhood education. 

"When we are in our classrooms reading textbooks, you don't really get the full jest and when you get in the classroom and really start to see it, you pick up what you are learning and all that, it really helps," high school senior Mohamed Allie said. 

Ultimately KenCrest West Director Josie Jones hopes these seniors will return one day and run their own classroom.  

"We have seven sites and students who live throughout the Philadelphia area that have had their training, which is 120 hours of training, and then they take what we call the CDA credential. Once they take the testing, they become highly qualified for a childcare classroom," Jones said. 

While these students are getting hands-on experience it doesn't compare to the life lessons they are learning from toddlers. 

"I learned a lot of patience, a lot of patience," high school senior Sharday Morris said.

There are so many outstanding young people who deserve special recognition. To read more stories like these visit, 

Know an outstanding high school senior that deserves recognition? Let us know by completing the form below and we may select the student to be featured in our "Focusing on the Future" series.

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