Santa Maria Joint Union High School District students are learning that child care is more than babysitting through their involvement in an on-campus preschool.

The Ernest Righetti High School preschool program provides about 35 students with hands-on knowledge about careers with children and phases of child development and psychology.

The class, which is part of the Family and Consumer Sciences curriculum, operates from May 1 to May 29 and involves about 20 preschoolers, ages 3½ to 5 years old.

Senior Chelsea Lovell said the experience provides real-life examples.

“It’s really cool to see the beginnings of the young people who will become the future,’’ she said. “I enjoy hanging out with them.’‘

The students play, read stories and engage children in activities, including sports, arts, crafts and music. They also learn about cognitive skills, motor control, readiness and language.
The class has operated for 37 years.

“Some of the students will choose a valuable and worthwhile profession involving children,’’ teacher Virginia Whitehead said. “Others will take this important information home to their families.’‘

The preschool students are selected on a limited application basis.

— Kenny Klein represents the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.