New program connects home to school

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 17, 2000

Alicia Weldon

Staff Writer

The sound of children's laughter is resounding from the hallways of W. O. Parmer a little earlier this year.

All the students who have signed up to start kindergarten at the school in the fall were invited to attend the "Home-to-School Connection" to help with the transition period between home or daycare and the beginning of school on August 6.

Invitations were sent out earlier in the summer, splitting the class into two groups: A through M, which met on Tuesday, and N through Z, which met on Wednesday.

The classes ran from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m., and the children used the time to become familiar with the school grounds and become aquatinted with the kindergarten teachers.

Each day's group was divided into smaller groups, each assigned to a different kindergarten teacher.

The children were taken to the bus parking lot, the lunchroom and the bathrooms, as well as different classrooms in the school. To better help the day seem more like an actual school day, the children also sang songs, were introduced to the computers, participated in a mini-class period, and art and play times.

Carole Teague, assistant principal at W. O. Parmer, said the classes should help the first day of school seem less foreboding to the children, who are more accustomed to a daycare or home atmosphere.

"It's an opportunity for them to experience a school day before school actually starts," Teague said.

Since parents are also anxious about the first day of school for their children, two meetings were held each evening at the school for the parents to become familiar with school policies and officials.

Pictures were also on display at the parent meetings of the children participating in the school's activities throughout the day.

"It's just as important to have something like this for the parents, as well as for the children, because often, this is the first child a parent is sending off to school, and they need to have their questions answered," Teague said. "Parental involvement is a strong support for our school, and with strong support, we have a strong school system."

A program similar to the classes has been held at W. O. Parmer for a number of years, encouraging parents and children along the way.

Natalie Owens, a parent of a W. O. Parmer child from Greenville, said she thought the classes were a well-planned idea for children, parents and teachers.

"It gives the children the opportunity to find that school is not so bad," Owens said. "This way, they won't be so terrified on the first day of school because it will be more familiar to them."