Austin elementary students get real world experience at Little Medical School

Education

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Students in east Austin are getting exposure to the exciting world of medicine.

Thanks to a special grant, which helps pay for third party vendors, IDEA Public Schools has brought on an organization called Little Medical School to provide hands-on instruction on what it takes to become a doctor, veterinarian, pharmacist, dentist and sports therapist, among other health care professions.

Kindergarten, first and second-graders can sign up for the program. It’s currently a part of the summer school curriculum, but will transfer to a one-day, two hours per week afterschool program in the fall.

“I think it is very rewarding for the students to participate in something like this at such a young age,” said Jade Broaders, the afterschool program coordinator at IDEA Health Professions. “They are being exposed to different jobs and are being exposed to different things they can do in health, science and math fields.”

The program comes at no cost to families. IDEA Public Schools has used the same grant to bring in other vendors to teach programs like coding, engineering and music production.

The instructor said most students remain highly engaged throughout the 14-week program.

“They come in excited every day to learn because it’s a new thing every single day,” said Laverne Etuk, the Little Medical School teacher. “As long as you cater it to them in a way that works for their age, it can work.”

The summer school program has come to a close, but IDEA Public Schools is still taking in students for the fall. There’s no deadline to apply. IDEA is a public charter school system across Texas.

Reach KXAN’s Education Reporter Alex Caprariello by email at alexc@kxan.com or by phone at 512-703-5365, or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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