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Kindergarten classrooms in Hardin County were full of activity last week, although the first day of school was nearly a week away.
Many local schools help prepare incoming kindergartners and their parents by hosting a kindergarten camp, where new students spend time getting to know their teachers and their schools.
Depending on the school, students had an opportunity to experience class work, story time and learn rules such as how to walk through hallways and go through the lunch line.
At Heartland Elementary School off Ring Road, students listened to the book “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” and some toured the school looking for cutouts of characters. Teachers shared details about themselves so students could become acquainted with them.
Students at Heartland and Creekside Elementary School in Sonora also took bus rides to become familiar with riding in the big yellow vehicles.
Creekside teacher Kim Cruse said faculty use the camp as a way to teach procedures to new students; but it also helps students overcome first-day jitters.
“That first day is not as scary,” she said, after they’ve already spent time in the classroom.
After camp, students know how to find their desks and to move to the carpeted area for story time.
“It makes things a little bit easier,” Cruse said.
Students also experience being separated from their parents for a short period of time, something students and parents might need help with.
“It helps them let go, too,” Cruse said.
Creekside teacher Pat Milby believes allowing kindergartners to spend time in school without older students there helps, she said, so their first experience at school is without any “big kids.”
“It’s not so overwhelming for them,” Milby said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505 -1747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.