SPRING HILL — The children in Ann Tobin's Spring Hill Elementary School prekindergarten class have been learning about insects, Africa, sea creatures and the weather. They had packets of their work ready to show their parents during a recent parent night that included a show.
The class is an exceptional student education inclusion class that is a combination of Tobin's special education students and age-typical children who participate in the class through the YMCA.
Assisting Tobin in the classroom are teacher assistants Connie Alexander and Nellie Henschke and YMCA liaison Krista Tipton.
The children are 3, 4 or 5 years old. They had a dress rehearsal for the big night to get a feel for being on the stage and wearing their decorated T-shirts.
The 3-year-olds wore shirts with letters on them, because they were featured during the alphabet song. The older children wore shirts with dogs, cats and umbrellas or insects, illustrating the songs Raining Cats and Dogs and We Like Bugs.
Tobin provided the shirts. She is National Board certified as an early childhood generalist, has a master's degree in curriculum and education, and is exceptional student education and ESOL certified.
Dance steps were part of the performances. Singing and dancing, Tobin explained, require using both sides of the brain. They require the children to use gross and small motor skills.
"Singing and dancing," she said. "It's hard to do both."
Besides performing songs, the children each had speaking parts that had to be memorized. During the last song, the parents were invited to the stage to dance along to Down By the Sea.
A DVD showed what students have been doing in class since December.
"It took us months to prepare for this," Tobin said. The students worked in large groups and did small group activities.
Mrs. Tobin's "Rising Stars" (3-year-olds) this year were Reese Laushot, Raul Maldonado, Danielle Anselmo and Joe DaSilva.
The "Starlets" (4-year-olds) were Giovanna Leo, Robert McSorley, NyAziah Richardson, Christian Palma and MaKavion Stanley-Outlaw.
The "Super Stars" (5-year-olds) were Paul McKinney, Anthony Houle, Kenny Altimeaux, Lilli Wilson, Isaiah Barker Williams and Termyia Iles.