For first time parents, it often a heartbreaking sight to see their little one crying on the first day of school. Some children are scared, clinging to parents and refusing to go into the classroom. As well, the thought of their “baby” entering “big” school for the first time can also be frightening for parents.
The successful completion of a special program hosted at McDonough Elementary is minimizing anxiety for children entering school for the first time.
The idea is the brainchild of Lisa Travis, assistant principal at McDonough Elementary. As part of her doctorate class on early intervention, Travis researched ways to the school system can help its youngest students like those at McDonough Elementary.
“While the school has a tremendous amount of Title 1 support and EIP support during the school year, there is little support for students over the summer, especially for incoming Kindergarten students,” said Travis.
After contacting Jodye Rowe-Calloway, Curriculum Coordinator for Henry County School, Rowe-Calloway suggested using some of the State Funded Instructional Extension Program (SIEP) funds, which are also used for tutoring throughout the school year. Developing McDonough’s Elementary Kindergarten Camp included discussions with teachers and administration of what the camp would involve, how many teachers would be needed, and how they would get the information to parents. Once the plan was in place, dates were set and information was disseminated to parents who had enrolled incoming Kindergarten students in the spring and summer.
The camp was held from July 15-26 from 9 AM to 11 AM. Casey Crumbley, one of the Kindergarten teachers at McDonough Elementary, was thrilled with the experience.
Crumbley said, “Kindergarten Camp was a great opportunity to build rapport with students and parents. “It gave us two very easygoing weeks to get to know students on a personal level and expose them to the routines and expectations of kindergarten, along with making friends. They practiced name writing, written response to stories and learned about letters and numbers through music, art and literature. Students learned about safety on the playground and became familiar with the expectation of sitting in their own space and being attentive during stories being read aloud and discussions about literature. They also became excited about homework and sharing what they had accomplished that day with their family at home.”
A number of parents expressed their gratitude for the school’s efforts to provide McDonough Elementary Kindergarten Camp.
Parent Gayla Smith said, “Just in two weeks, I’ve seen my child’s letter formation improve. I am glad he was given the opportunity to attend the camp and it should be something done every year.”
Tarika Andrews, another parent whose family is new to the area, was thrilled because it allowed her daughter to make friends before school started. .
Dr. Jolie Hardin, principal at McDonough Elementary, knows that walking into an unfamiliar building with unfamiliar people is not an easy thing for a five year-old to do.
“If our school can make the transition easier for our students and parents, the first few weeks of school will not be as terrifying,” shared Hardin.
She felt the camp was such a success and as long as funding is available, the school will continue offering this very beneficial experience.
Henry Counties 2013-14 school year begin Aug. 5.