The first day of school is just around the corner for students in Henderson County. Soon buses will be spotted all over town as school children begin the 2018-2019 school year. For youngsters who will be 5 years old by August 1, 2018, another milestone will be awaiting—the first day of kindergarten!
It’s an exciting time for most, but for some who are just beginning their educational journey, it can be quite intimidating for both the child and the parent. Elementary school sure is a big place when you are only 5 years old. Thankfully, the elementary schools in this district are ready and happy to welcome their new students and help ease fears.
“Kindergarten is a major milestone, not only for the child, but also for the whole family,” Donna Jo Bugg, Guidance Counselor at Spottsville Elementary School said. Mrs. Bugg has vast experience with first-day-of-school-jitters. She has spent 18 years in education, including two and a half years teaching kindergarten. She has observed little ones of a wide variety walk into school for the very first time, some of them bravely marching in and others being carried in with nervous tears streaming down their cheeks. Like with any change, the transition of starting kindergarten can take some time to adjust.
Fortunately, Mrs. Bugg has some ideas for how to make the passage less bumpy and the landmark start a bit smoother. “I think a parent’s attitude towards school has lasting effects on their child’s attitude towards school, self-esteem and achievements,” says Bugg. “One thing that parents can do to help prepare their child for kindergarten is make sure they are establishing a bedtime routine.” Children of all ages tend to go to bed later and sleep later into the mornings during summer break. Beginning a more structured bedtime routine a couple of weeks before school begins makes the shift easier on students of all ages. “Establishing a bedtime and making sure they are getting enough sleep each night is important,” she suggests. Another instruction she offers is to help your child become more independent. “Young children should learn how to dress themselves, eat without assistance and learn about personal hygiene,” remarks Mrs. Bugg. This doesn’t mean that a kindergarten teacher won’t help assist a child in need of a little extra TLC, but it’s important to remember that the instructor’s primary responsibility is to grow their students academically, not cut up their lunches. “A lot of times with little ones, they are used to being with mom or dad or someone who helps them with all those things, so helping them before they start kindergarten by taking on more of those independent types of roles really helps.”
Spottsville Elementary offers an event called “Popsicles on the Playground” for new students to dip their toe into the school experience before that first official day of school. “We have popsicles and games for the kids while the parents go to their child’s teacher and get all sorts of information about our school,” reassures Mrs. Bugg. “Both students and parents can ask questions and get comfortable with the school. It’s kind of like an open house.”
Each elementary school will have similar events scheduled where parents can bring their new kindergartener to tour the school, meet their teacher and have questions answered. Go to henderson.kyschools.us for contact information, registration requirements, as well as dates and times for each school’s new student events.
Kindergarten is a year full of personal growth, and it goes by so very quickly. The year will end with the same speed and excitement as when it began. It’s important to relax and not miss the beautiful in-between.
Amanda Waggener is a blogger for the Huffington Post, author of No Grit No Pearl blog site and is a native of Henderson. She and her husband are the parents of two teenagers who they are raising with as much zeal as they can muster.
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