Youngsters, parents invited to ‘Get Ready for Kindergarten’

PUNXSUTAWNEY — if you have a child who will attend kindergarten in the next school year, then you and your child are invited to attend “Get Ready for Kindergarten” Thursday at the Punxsutawney Area Middle School.
The program runs from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the PAMS cafeteria for parents of students who will attend kindergarten in the Punxsutawney Area School District next fall, said Shari Weber, elementary principal.

Weber said parents will go to various centers dealing with a variety of subjects, such as math, language arts, fine motor skills and large motor skills.

The different centers will be manned by teachers outlining strategies for parents to use with their kids, Weber said.

These strategies may be used from now until the child begins kindergarten next fall.

Weber said these hands-on strategies are a big change from last year’s pre-kindergarten program for parents. Last year, there was one large presentation for everyone.

“The kindergarten teachers thought they would like to make it more hands-on,” she said. “The ideas for the centers are wonderful, and when the parents come in, they’ll receive a tote bag full of free materials to use right away with their kids. It will be very worthwhile for them to attend.”

Weber said the majority of students who attend kindergarten have some type of formalized child care, day care, preschool or Head Start before they first attend school.

“Our childcare centers here in town do a wonderful job of preparing our kids with the Pre-K standards,” she said.”

Weber said that kindergarten has become a very rigorous program.

“A full-day every day is very challenging for these little ones,” she said. “I have a kindergartner myself this year, so I, for myself, see how she’s progressing already from when she entered until now. She is like a little sponge, just soaking up everything that she is learning.”
Weber said she’s excited to put on a program like this to help parents and childcare centers know the expectations of a child entering kindergarten.

“The only expectation we have is your child has to be five years old by June 1 to enter kindergarten,” she said. “So, that is the only requirement that we as a school district can have.”

The things that district staff will speak about with pre-kindergarten parents are great things for the kids to know, Weber said.

“Our teachers do a wonderful job regardless of a child’s skill level,” she said. “These are wonderful things to know before coming into kindergarten classes.”

Also during Thursday’s event, pre-kindergarten students will have centers of their own to visit in the PAMS gym, operated by AmeriCorps teachers.

“The kids will be making macaroni necklaces, decorating pumpkins and playing fall bingo,” Weber said. At 7:30 p.m. when the evening is over, students will be reunited with their parents for a quick wrap-up and free refreshments.

Thursday’s program is sponsored by Community Action Inc., the Learn Project, Ttile I Parent Involvement and the school district.

Sheri Price from Community Action Inc. has done a great job of getting the word out to the parents, Weber said.

Manning the other stations are Kristen Riexenger, elementary counselor; Kim DeChurch, elementary nurse; and Paula Quick, co-owner of Playhouse Children’s Center.

For questions or more information, call Weber at 938-5119.