Early Childhood students return to their childhood center

Early Childhood students return to their childhood center

Monday, September 30, 2013

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OTC students Emily Kleier and Lindsay Freres experienced a bit of deja vu this semester when they enrolled in the collegeís Early Childhood Education program.

Not many years ago, the two were cared for as young children at the Early Childhood Center. Today, they are there learning to care for young children themselves.

"I was getting a few flashbacks at first," said Kleier, who came to the center when she was 4 years old at its old location, a block south of the new facility.

For Freres, it was like coming back to her family.

"Being in class was a weird feeling at first. It's like family here. I like it here," she said.

But neither of them was too taken aback because they came around OTC a lot as kids; their relatives worked at OTC, and they were able to be enrolled in the daycare program.

"I remember playing on the playground here and the fall student picnics that I got to go to. We have pictures of that," said Freres, who volunteered at the Center when she was growing up.

Connie Harmon, the center's manager, knows the college has been open long enough that some who were there as small children are now returning as grownup students.

"It's really cool to know they started their education here at age 3 or 4 and now are coming back. Iíll feel old when itís one I've had as a child coming back for classes," she said.

Teachers that once took care of the two students are still there and now ready to lend a hand to the two students.

"Miss Melissa (Freres, Lindsay's mother) came into my classroom and showed me a picture of me in her class," said Kleier.

Kleier wants to be a first grade teacher as teaching runs in her family. Both of her sisters-in-law are teachers.

"I decided last year that's what I wanted to do. Iíve always liked children. I get along with them pretty well," she said.

Harmon said she's proud that the education the two got as children at the center is working for them today.

"Itís important that kids get a quality early start and the two of them are proof of that importance," she said.