CES summer school calms kindergarteners fears

The first day of school for Calera Elementary kindergarteners just isn’t the same anymore.

Now there are fewer tears &045; from the kids and the parents &045; because of Kindergarten Summer School, now in its third year.

The &uot;mini&uot; kindergarten sessions took place the week of July 30 through Aug. 2 from 8-11 a.m. and was open to all children ages 4 and 5 entering kindergarten at Calera.

&uot;We just try to ease their transition into school so that the first couple of days, they’re not so scared,&uot; said kindergarten teacher Lisa Barton.

During the week, the kids are shown around the school and familiarized with things like the restroom locations, the rules of school &045; including how to stand in line &045; and how to go through the lunch line.

&uot;It makes the first day of kindergarten an exciting return trip for the children instead of a tearful departure from Mom and Dad,&uot; Barton said.

Principal Melissa Nannini said the program has had great reviews from parents.

&uot;They like the program because it helps the kindergarten children feel like they know all about school before it starts,&uot; she said.

The children are not always the most upset about starting school. Sometimes it is the parents who are distraught. Nannini said Kindergarten Summer School helps parents get used to dropping their child off for the day.

&uot;There was one mother who was upset,&uot; said Nannini, &uot;but (the Summer School) has helped her work through her nervousness.&uot;

The program is free and Nannini said that almost half of the incoming kindergarteners participate.

Kindergarten Summer School is paid for by Title I funds, which go toward paying the teachers. Others, Nannini said, volunteer just because they realize it is a great opportunity to get to know the kids.

&uot;It’s a neat program,&uot; said Nannini. &uot;It helps (the kids) learn that kindergarten is a fun place to be.&uot;