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Exceptional Event

Kindergarten Roundup

Principal Jon Romeo is justly proud of his kindergarten teachers at Bradford Elementary School in Westerly, Rhode Island. "Our kindergarten teachers host a series of activities for the incoming kindergarten class," said Romeo. "Those activities begin the spring before students start school. One month the teachers do an evening story hour, another month an arts and crafts night. During the summer, they do a special bus safety activity, complete with a bus ride.

"The special program of transition activities enables the entire kindergarten team to get to know the new class of children," said Romeo. "It certainly helps ease the anxiety of kindergarten for kids and parents."

Perhaps the most special activity the teachers do is for parents only. The activity involves the parents in creating a "Coming to Kindergarten" book for their child. "The book is kind of like a coloring book with pictures and words about our school," Romeo explained. "The first page talks about our kindergarten teachers, another page talks about our school librarian, and there is a page about our playground. At the bottom of each page is a sentence that says something like 'At Bradford School, you will get to read lots of books.'

"A staff member will sit with a group of six to eight parents and give them stickers, crayons, glue sticks, pictures of teachers, and other things so parents can create a book about our school personalized for their child. During the activity, parents can ask questions about whatever topics arise. For example, the nurse page in the book might spur a parent to ask about administering medications or discussing peanut allergies.

"We have found this to be a terrific orientation for parents," added Romeo. "Each family leaves with a book to read to their soon-to-be kindergarten child over the summer."

To read more about welcoming parents of your incoming kindergarten class, see the Education World article Rounding Up Pre-K Kids, Parents.