Archive for Thursday, August 31, 2000

Kindergarten teachers aid new students in smooth transition

August 31, 2000

With any school year, there are always some obstacles to overcome. Nottingham Elementary School is no different, with kindergarten teachers taking measures to ensure a positive transition for new students.

One obstacle Nottingham faced with the opening of its doors last week was an increase in enrollment. This year, 95 students enrolled for the first day of fall classes. In 1999, there were 71 students starting the fall semester.

John Woodward, kindergarten teacher for 14 years, said the increased enrollment caused the addition of a new teacher at Nottingham.

Thats why we added the other teacher, Woodward said.

Filling the position is part-timer Stacy Katzenmeier. In the past, two teachers have taught three-hour morning and afternoon sessions. Katzenmeiers position has added an additional morning session.

With kindergarten experience under her belt, she said Eudora does well in preparing parents and students for kindergarten.

I feel like the Eudora school district does a good job of preparing parents, Katzenmeier said. It seems like most kids are pretty ready.

With two parent meetings, a student screening and a student round up, Katzenmeier said Nottingham offers much to prepare new students and their parents.

Seven-year kindergarten veteran Beth Shipp agreed. She said visitations are available to warm up students to the idea of being in a classroom.

I really think the visitation days help a lot, Shipp said. Its not so scary, I think. Visiting, they come in small groups and that helps a lot.

A booklet is provided to parents of incoming students, detailing what can be done at home to aid a childs learning, Katzenmeier said. Meeting childrens needs at home is a bonus in the classroom. A positive atmosphere and respect for authority goes a long way, she said.

I told my parents at the meeting that I truly believe 75 percent of learning begins at the home, Katzenmeier said.

Shipp agreed.

And, always reading to their child and talking to them about their experiences as they happen to them, she said.

Away from home, there are always some students who just dont want to let go of mom and dad.

We see a couple of cases every year, Woodward said.

Usually there are more moms crying than kids, Shipp said.

Woodward said some of the hardest things for children to adjust to are classroom rules, where to line up and other classroom proceedings. Sharing attention with other students is also an issue.

I think one of the biggest adjustments for kids is learning theyre not the center of attention, Woodward said. We see a lot more parents that way than we used to.

However, Shipp said there are moments where young students realize the finer points of classroom peace.

One of my kids today said, youve got to have patience, and I said, thats very true, Shipp said.

Still, there are adjustments for students to make when coming to kindergarten, but Woodward said most students adjust after the first week. One of the biggest obstacles may be the absence of naptime.

No nap. Occasionally a teacher and a couple of students doze off during storytime, but thats not a scheduled activity, Woodward laughed.

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