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Hartselle Enquirer

CES holds kindergarten camp

Kindergarten teacher Melissa Ward reads a book about ladybugs to the kindergarten campers Wed., June 17. Groups of kindergartners rotated around the five teachers who read books and led crafts.| Joy Haynes
Kindergarten teacher Melissa Ward reads a book about ladybugs to the kindergarten campers Wed., June 17. Groups of kindergartners rotated around the five teachers who read books and led crafts.| Joy Haynes

Crestline Elementary School welcomed 47 incoming kindergarteners to tour the school, meet the teachers and do some crafts June 17-18 for a couple hours each day during their annual kindergarten camp.

Parents were briefed on Crestline polices and expectations during a parent orientation at the beginning of camp Wednesday.

“This is as much for the parents as it is for the students,” said CES Principal Robin Varwig. “The parents are often more anxious than the kids, so this way both parents and students are able to acclimate to the school without the other grades here, which can be very overwhelming on the first day of school. The kids already have met the teachers and seen the school, and the parents will be familiar with the routine.”

Crestline has been holding kindergarten camp for about five years now. Varwig said they have had very positive feedback from parents and teachers since its implementation.

“Most kids think they will be going to kindergarten the day after they register, so the wait can be confusing,” Varwig said. “This little taste of school really helps ease their anxieties that might be accentuated on the first day of school with everyone else. Our teachers also like getting to see the students’ personalities beforehand.”

Kindergarten camp also helps determine each teachers’ classes for the school year.

“The teachers are allowed to offer suggestions for the classes after kindergarten camp is over,” Varwig said. “It really helps us determine the leaders in the group, so we can split them up among the classes. We also get to see if there are specific personalities that we do or don’t want to put together. Sometimes we find that certain students might do better with a buddy with a certain quality in their class, so this time with the teachers tends to be very useful in making the grouping decisions.”

Kindergarten teacher Amy Robinson said she has seen a big change in the first day of school since they started offering kindergarten camp.

“I can tell it’s really making a big difference in how kids handle the first day of school,” Robinson said. “It gives them time to meet the teachers and some of their future classmates so everything isn’t new on that first day. It’s helped a lot and we enjoy getting to meet the incoming kindergarteners ahead of time.”

Parents get to take home a calendar for the rest of the summer that will help them prepare their child for kindergarten. It helps them teach their children certain skills such as opening a milk carton or remembering their address that will get them accustomed to a teaching regiment at school.

Kindergarten teacher Amy Shirey said feels the parents benefit the most from kindergarten camp.

“The early meet and greet helps mainly the parents,” Shirey said. “It seems to make that first day of watching their child walk into kindergarten a little easier. They know what to expect, and their anxiety is calmed when they know their child is less anxious as well.”

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