In With the Old and In With the New: An overview of Ms. Overdiep and the Child Development Program
By: Kylie Radford and Shivani Handa
Ms. Overdiep, aka “Ms. O”, is known to some as a softball extraordinaire. Others may know her as the JVB volleyball coach. Some may even know her as an Apex alumna. But to many students, Ms. Overdiep is a teacher. More specifically, the teacher of Child Development.
As a student at Apex High School, Ms. Overdiep tried her hand in many sports. She participated in both basketball and track for a year, but her true passion was softball, which she played throughout her high school career. She was a student athletic trainer for three years: she trained the Football team, softball team, and men’s basketball team. She also held the position of co-manager for the men’s basketball team, the season in which they won the state championship.
After graduating from Apex High School in 2014, Ms. Overdiep attended the University of North Carolina Greensboro. During her time there, she simultaneously played softball and earned a degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in American Sign Language and Social Work. After graduating, she taught at South Garner High School for three years. Ms. Overdiep always wanted to come back to Apex to teach; upon hearing of the establishment of the Child Development program, she jumped at the chance to be a part of it.
When asked about her transition from student to teacher, Mrs. Overdiep stated that it was strange to be an authority figure in an environment where she was once a student. Ms. Overdiep even mentioned that she now works alongside her favorite former teacher, Mr. Ferguson. “It feels weird because he knew me when I was fourteen, which was ten or eleven years ago.” When asked about Ms. Overdiep, Mr. Ferguson stated:
“As a student she was mature, responsible, hard-working, and creative. She cared for others and was kind and thoughtful. All of those traits translate well to being a teacher… I have already seen what a positive impact that she has made on our campus in such a short time. As a colleague, I’m impressed. She’s a strong teacher. But as her former teacher, it really just gives me a sense of pride.”
While Ms. Overdiep is no stranger to Apex, the new Child Development program is. Ms. Overdiep stated that the name “Child Development” is misleading to what the class is actually about. As expected, students enrolled in the Child Development program will learn about the Physical, Emotional, and Social Development of Children from birth to age six. She said the course “gives students a chance to revisit things they enjoyed about school as kids, whether it be arts and crafts, or learning how they develop.” However, the curriculum also tackles subjects such as: Family Planning, Pregnancy, Parenting, and Child Care.
At the start of the course, students are sent home with a class rubric and a permission slip for parents to sign. Ms. Overdiep explained that the reason for this is that some parents don’t want their children discussing some of these topics in a school setting. She stated that the rubric “gives parents the opportunity to understand what the kids will be talking about and potentially address them (topics/concerns) beforehand.”
Ms. Overdiep believes that, despite the challenges, the Child Development program is important for schools to offer. She explained:
“Research shows that the more kids know, the better decisions they can make… Everyone deserves information, which should come from a professional, not the internet or their friends… Most students aren’t comfortable discussing these topics with parents, and the class provides a safe space where students can ask questions and get medically accurate knowledge they need. Most, if not all, will go through these things at some point in their lives. If they aren’t taught, how can we expect them to be good at it or make the right choices?”
Ms. Overdiep also stated that the Child Development curriculum is necessary because it covers many life skills. She believes the course “gives kids a good perspective for life and provides an understanding of who they were, who they are, and who they’re going to be. It’s important to take whether you like kids or not because it helps you learn about yourself.”
Over the next few weeks, students currently enrolled in the course will begin a project in which they are tasked with caring for a robot baby for up to four days. These babies are similar to real babies in that they cry and require the same care that real children do: They must be fed, burped, rocked, changed, etc. These babies are very high tech, so they cost around a thousand dollars each. Ms. Overdiep stated that the purpose of the assignment is to help kids understand the difficulties and energy that goes into being a parent. “It’s meant to show (the students) that being a parent isn’t the fun and games seen on social media.” The project also teaches students about the responsibilities associated with parenting and demonstrates the effects on each aspect of life.
With this new program also comes the potential for future subsequent courses: Ms. Overdiep noted that there is a possibility of introducing Early Childhood I and II as classes next school year. These curriculums focus on daycare and educating preschool aged children. It is predicted that students in these classes will have the opportunity to go off campus to work at a daycare for multiple days each week.
Apex High School is thrilled to welcome home Ms. Overdiep, as she leads the new Child Development program this school year. The students will soon be abuzz with excitement over the presence of the robot babies. Just remember – it may be a good idea to invest in headphones.