ELKHART – For some parents, sending their children to pre-school is something they cannot afford even though educators say pre-school can help kids get a jump start on kindergarten.
One local school system has started a grass roots program to give youngsters and their parents a firsthand look at what life would be like in kindergarten.
This is happening at Mary Daly Elementary in Elkhart. A class started to prepare youngsters for life in kindergarten and at the same time it allows parents to help their kids make the transition. It is part of an innovative class taught by Diana Liptak, a title one parent support coordinator.
“Kindergarten is no longer just an activity and a nap,” said Liptak. “It’s a full day of education and focused activity.”
The purpose to acclimate these youngsters who have not taken pre-school to kindergarten is what they can expect and ease them into their first classroom setting.
“It’s their first experience,” said Josh Nice, Principal at Mary Daly Elementary. “Pre-school's great and home schooling is great. When these kids are coming to us, we want to give them every chance to get an early start and connect with each other.”
Cathy Smith's two grandchildren will soon be attending kindergarten.
“If they were just to walk into school and not have any idea what they were coming into, it would be way too much for them,” said Smith.
A big component of the program is for parents to get their youngsters involved in everyday activities as part of an overall learning experience. This could include going to the grocery store, doing laundry, or even setting the table. Alicia Ricketts' daughter will soon be starting kindergarten.
She's a bright little girl and I like to be part of her learning,” said Ricketts.
A similar program is also underway at Elkhart's Mary Beck Elementary. In both schools, it is provided at no additional cost to the school system.