Bethel College and School City of Mishawaka Partner to Start Kindergarten Lab Classroom

Lissa Diaz
The Bethel College Education Department and School City of Mishawaka are partnering to create a laboratory kindergarten classroom on Bethel’s campus. The project was approved at Tuesday’s school board meeting. Matt Wood, principal of Battell Elementary School, and Kristie Cerling, Ed.D., chair of Bethel’s Education Department, will provide mutual oversight of the lab.

Students from Bethel’s elementary education and transition to teaching programs will work in the lab to complete field experience and earn class credit. Kindergarten students will benefit from the low student-to-adult ratio, which will allow for individualized guidance and special attention to the learning styles and needs of each student. 

“We are excited to partner with School City of Mishawaka to create opportunities for local students and families that will also benefit our Teacher Candidates,” says Cerling. “The on-campus classroom experience that this will provide for our Teacher Candidates will help them develop essential skills that can’t be learned from just a textbook or lecture. They'll be better prepared to hit the ground running when they graduate and step into their own classroom.”

A Bethel classroom is being prepared to house the lab, and a new playground and fencing will be installed on campus this summer.

“School City of Mishawaka is very excited to partner with Bethel College for this laboratory kindergarten class,” says Stahly. “It has advantages for both our students and teachers as well as Bethel students who are preparing to teach.” Stahly hopes to find other ways to partner with Bethel in the future. “There are many potential educational opportunities that would be mutually beneficial to Bethel, the school system and our entire Mishawaka community.”  

Any child who will be in kindergarten this fall and is enrolled in School City of Mishawaka is eligible to request placement in the Bethel kindergarten lab. To communicate interest in reserving a place, contact the School City of Mishawaka Administration Office at 574.254.4500.