Archive for Thursday, April 27, 2006

Kindergarten Round Up wrangles record number of students

April 27, 2006

Counting, singing, identifying colors and drawing shapes were just some activities enjoyed by soon-to-be kindergarteners during last week's Kindergarten Round-Up at Basehor Elementary.

Area children who will be 5 on or before Aug. 31 were tested to determine if they were ready for kindergarten.

Teri Holmes, principal of Basehor Elementary, said the event is a good way for parents and the district to decide if a child is ready to start school.

"Every year, we get a good look at the upcoming kindergarteners," Holmes said. "If we have a really young one, sometimes we will recommend holding them back another year until they're ready."

In one room, school counselor Ellen Knight, speech pathologist, Lisa Swaim and Holmes tested motor skills, articulation, identification and basic information, such as name and home address.

With instructions and encouragement from Holmes, one future kindergartener, Emily Tady, hopped on one foot toward Mr. Potato Head who was sitting in a chair a few feet away. She also walked in a straight line, both forward and backward.

"These types of exercises test balance and coordination," Holmes said.

Tady also wrote her name and grouped objects together to identify numbers. After testing was complete at one station, children were given a stamp on the nametags hanging around their necks and sent to another station or to the nurse's office, where their hearing and vision were tested.

Fifth-grade volunteers helped guide the 66 future students -- a record number -- from station to station. And the fifth-graders entertained their young charges with books and puzzles if they had to wait.

In another room, the children danced and sang to the "Hokey Pokey" and "If You're Happy and You Know It," participated in sing-a-long story time, made crafts and had snack time. These activities were designed to show a child's ability to follow directions and interact with others.

After each session, parents were invited in to talk with their children about their fun-filled day.

Madison Staatz, 5, met her mother Angela Staatz carrying a construction paper creature Madison had created during the Round Up. Madison's mother said the event, along with her own guidance as a parent, should help prepare Madison for kindergarten.

"I just made sure she knows her numbers and letters and to be respectful of others," Staatz said. "This just gave her an idea of what school is going to be like because it is not like any daycare."

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