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Comfortable with kindergarten

Program helps ease future students into learning

Program helps ease future students into learning

May 12, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Addie Wink, 5, said she is ready to start kindergarten in August.

Her mother, like other Washington County parents at an orientation event Tuesday, first wanted to learn more about what will occur in the kindergarten classroom.

Two kindergarten teachers spoke at the event at Hagerstown Community College for more than an hour, explaining to members of 33 families in attendance how they teach subjects using songs and other methods.

Afterward, Amelie Wink said she felt more comfortable.

"It was great. It was a nice introduction," Wink said.

Through the pre-kindergarten program she attends, Addie is familiar with some of the songs the teachers sang, her mother said.

"I love school," Addie said.

Kathy Forrest, a kindergarten teacher at Eastern Elementary School and the wife of Board of Education President Edward Forrest, and Lura Clingerman, a kindergarten teacher at Hickory Elementary School, took turns explaining what might occur on a typical school day.

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Addie was particularly taken by Forrest, saying at one point: "I want that to be my teacher," her mother said.

Nearby, the parents of Sarena Myers, 5, were listening to the teachers.

Sarena's father, Eric Myers, said the program was helpful and informative, especially notebooks that were given to each family with information about what their children will be taught in kindergarten.

Before the event began, while she was practicing identifying different letters, Sarena asked, "When does kindergarten begin?"

Parents and children alike were given the answer to that and other questions.

Charles Smith of Hagerstown, attending with his daughter, Alicia, later said he was struck by how much the children are taught in kindergarten. He said it is quite a bit more than he remembers from that age.

Dana Peake, coordinator of the Washington County Judy Center, made a similar remark at the start of the event.

"The kindergarten of today has changed greatly from the kindergarten you attended," she said.

All parents of children starting kindergarten in the fall were invited to the orientation at HCC's Kepler Theater. The event was sponsored by the Judy Center and the HCC Early Learning Center. The Judy Center at Bester Elementary School operates under a state grant to prepare at-risk children for school.

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