Preschool partnership in Adrian offers lessons for kids and adults alike


There are several ways to go back to school. For many adults it’s going to college even after marriage and children, while for others it’s studying to achieve a high school diploma that they missed earlier.

For me recently, it was returning to Lincoln Elementary School in Adrian, my alma mater from kindergarten through sixth grade.

I must admit to a lump in my throat as I began the slow walk down the hall to what I remember as Miss Alger’s music room where I failed miserably. It is now the Little Maples Preschool and I was invited by Beth Docking, wife of Adrian College president Jeffrey Docking.

Mrs. Docking includes me when she entertains the spouses of the board of trustees when they meet on campus. The programs are always college-related and informative, but an invitation to meet at Lincoln was a real bell ringer.

There weren’t competitive sports between Adrian’s grade schools, or a school song, and certainly no caps and gowns for kindergarten graduation. But Lincoln students still believe that we were privileged to attend the best elementary school in town.

The excitement about the Little Maples Preschool, which will begin a second year in the fall, involves the unique partnership that backs it and because quite possibly it will be International Baccalaureate-accredited with all of Lincoln’s grades.

The partnership is between Adrian College, which uses it as laboratory classroom for education students; the YMCA that does the bookkeeping and staffing, and the Adrian Public Schools.

Andrea R. Milner, director of the college Institute for Education and assistant professor of teacher education, was instrumental in the formation of the preschool program. She explained the value of the preschool to the college.

“This cooperative arrangement affords our students the opportunity to learn and work in an early childhood educational environment that engages in the best practices derived from the most current research.”

The college is one block from Lincoln. I often drive past the 1921 building and have wondered about the addition to the school where we played during recess. Now I know that the addition is just what the 285 Lincoln students need in today’s technical world. Its library has a bank of 11 computers lining one wall and a computer laboratory with 32 more computers.

Lincoln Principal Sam Skeels said that in addition, each classroom has four computers and this fall iPads will be added to the tech equipment. It’s unfortunate that alumnae can’t join the students for tech classes. Most of us need it, I am sure.

According to Mr. Skeels, Lincoln is about a year away from being accredited by the International Baccalaureate program that will cover the preschool along with the entire school.

IB is an educational foundation for students ages 3 to 19. It was founded in 1968 with an international scope. There are more than 118 million students in 3,625 schools in 145 countries in the program.

The goal is to develop inquiring, knowledgeable, and caring young people who will help create a better and more peaceful world through cultural understanding and respect and who recognize common humanity and shared guardianship of the planet.

“It has been an extraordinary privilege to work with the Lincoln teachers,” Ms. Milner said. “We have learned so much from them in this incredible collaboration.

“We are all going for the same vision, preparing our children in the context of the 21st century. It’s very different than when we went to school.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Mary Alice Powell is a retired Blade food editor.

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