A group of Pre-Kindergarten students officially became Kindergartners at Blue Ridge Elementary School Friday, July 12.
The students, part of Bright from the Start’s Summer Transition Program for rising Kindergartners, have attended six weeks of school this summer, working each day from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on writing, math, science and reading.
“They’re going to be so ready to go into Kindergarten and be confident,” said Jenny Shoemaker, one of two teachers in the program.
The social skills students learn over the summer are key to their future success, Shoemaker said.
“The social part of it is huge,” she said. “They’re not shy anymore. They’ve made friends.”
For the 2013-2014 school year, more than 500 students are enrolled in Dalton Public Schools for Kindergarten.
Of those students, about one-fifth have not experienced the benefits of a Pre-K program. With 32 students in two classes, the Summer Transition Program is one way Dalton Public Schools can better prepare those students for Kindergarten.
Maria Khote, DPS parent involvement coordinator, identifies the students and families who would most benefit from the program, which provides transportation, breakfast and lunch for each student involved.
“So many of our children do not have any social or academic experience before they get to Kindergarten,” said Caroline Woodason, who works with the Pre-K program for the DPS district. “It can put the whole class behind.”
Family education is also a key component to the program. This year, Khote held 10 classes for parents and families, teaching them how to work with their children and preparing them for what lies ahead.
“So much of our education needs to be with the parents,” Woodason said. “The act of reading, playing and talking to the child … oral language is such a necessity for learning.”
Now, the students and parents are more prepared for what Kindergarten will bring. They know how to write their names, hold scissors, identify letters of alphabet and be a contributing member of a classroom environment.
“It’s been amazing,” Shoemaker said.