Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Schools

August 23, 2011

A day of firsts for preschoolers

GLASGOW — Preschoolers in Glasgow and Barren County were busy doing a little bit of everything during their first day of class on Tuesday. The children were starting to learn their new routines at each school as they moved through the day.

10:30 a.m. – South Green

– Lunch time


Preschoolers were just sitting down to eat lunch for the first time in the school’s cafeteria under the watchful eyes of teachers, Anita Witt and Crystal Jackson, and assistants, Susie Stone and Sharon Ponder. For their first school lunch, the menu included chicken patty on a bun, green beans, mashed potatoes, peaches or watermelon, and milk.

There are two preschool classes at South Green and 36 students were enrolled for the first day, according to Alisha Richardson, director of special education for Glasgow’s school district.

Jackson said the children had been introduced to different centers in the classroom such as the block area and the housekeeping area. They learned how to use markers and crayons in the morning and were scheduled to lie down to rest at 1 p.m.

“We’ve done some songs and dance and we’ll probably be doing some more of that this afternoon,” Jackson said. “It’s a full day.”

Witt said her students had similar activities.

“They’ve really enjoyed the songs with motions we’ve been doing like ‘Wheels on the Bus’ and they’ve really enjoyed getting into the movements of that,” she said.

The teachers and their assistants all said the first day had been going well so far.

“We really are having a good day. It’s gone very, very smoothly,” Witt said.

“It’s going really good. Nobody’s crying, so there you go. A few tears, a little bit this morning — a few mom tears too. Other than that, it’s gone great,” Stone said.

The school had breakfast for the brand-new students and their parents the first morning.

“That really helps with that transition for the children,” Witt said.

11 a.m. – Red Cross – Exercise time

Preschool students of Anita Thompson and Callie Brown were lining up in the hall getting ready to go into the gym for their first physical education class with PE teacher Corey Edwards. Assistants, Susan Shirley and Edwina Spillman, helped keep the children in orderly fashion as they entered the large, slightly intimidating space.

Edwards quickly put the preschoolers at ease by teaching them how to sit quietly in rows, how to freeze when they needed to stop, and how to be safe when they’re in the gym.

He explained to the children that the walls of the gymnasium were hard and if they fell or were pushed into them the students could be hurt. That’s why the perimeter around the outside of the space is called “Alligator Land” and is off-limits to the preschoolers.

“When we move and play in gym, we have to learn to move safely,” Edwards said.

But there are still many activities the children can enjoy during their time in the gym.

“We’re going to have so much fun learning how to exercise, learning how to be healthy, and learning how to play some fun games,” he told the children.

Edwards took the preschoolers through a series of “locomotor movements” including walking, jumping, galloping, sliding and skipping. They followed the leader as their teacher led them around the edge of the basketball court where he had shown them the running lane.

As part of another exercise skill, Edwards taught the children how to spread their feet wide apart and hold their hands high above their heads to make a “tunnel” and to get onto their hands and knees in a push-up position  and then arch up to form a “bridge.”

Even with all of the activity in the class, the students still had plenty of energy afterwards.

There are four preschool classrooms at RCE with a total of 83 children attending on the first day, according to Vicki Weaver, administrative assistant for the director of instruction and technology for the Barren County Schools.

11:45 a.m. – North Jackson – Class time

Principal Anthony Frazier checked in on two of the three preschool classes at North Jackson. He talked to several of his new students who were watching videos in their partially darkened classrooms. A couple of the children had already started nap time as they stretched out on a rug on the floor.

Teachers Amy Gassaway and Heather Gentry were monitoring their new charges as some, such as twin brothers, Jon Parker and Sutton Hyde, watched the screen on the wall. Others, including Jacob Spence, worked on a coloring project.

Frazier said 41 students had shown up for the first day of preschool at his building, but there could be as many as 20 or more who could end up there. If NJE enrolls more than 60 students, the school might have to add a fourth preschool classroom.

Overall, everything was going to plan without any major bumps the first day, according to Frazier.

“It’s been a great morning. We only had a (few) criers and most of those were parents, so we did good,” he said.

12 p.m. – Highland – Play time

Preschool students at Highland Elementary were on the playground at noon during their first day of school engaged in a wide variety of activities. Some were playing with giant-sized Lego blocks or taking turns going in and out of the doors and windows of miniature playhouses. There were tunnel slides to be tried and swings to be swung on. Other children were throwing balls at goals. Some simply found a fence upon which to perch to watch the “big kids” play on their own playground across the yard. A few students took refuge from the sun in shady spots around the playground or grabbed their water bottles for a sip from the long line of containers sitting on a nearby window sill.

Principal Sharon Flowers said her school has three preschool classes and she and her teachers, Genelle Jones, Erin Garrett and Brittany Martin, were prepared for 60 students the first day. According to Richardson, 54 were enrolled at Highland on Tuesday.

School and district

totals

The total number of preschool students at Glasgow on the first day was 90 compared to 62 at the same time last August.

“Last year on the first day of preschool we had 25 preschool students at South Green and 37 at Highland. This is a total of 62 preschoolers on the first day in the 2010-11 school year,” said Richardson. “We attribute our growth to the offering of five full days of preschool per week. ... Now that our schedule is more family friendly more students are taking advantage of what Glasgow preschool has to offer.”

District administrators are anticipating even more preschool students in the next few days.

“We have had several calls during the day today with more parents enquiring about enrolling their child in preschool,” Richardson said.

Barren County Schools had enrolled 22 more preschool students on the first day of class this year opposed to last year, 297 compared to 275.

Eastern Elementary and North Jackson gained the most students of all the district’s seven elementaries. Eastern increased from 33 to 40 students and North Jackson increased from 44 to 59.

The other Barren schools gained or lost a handful of preschoolers each: Austin Tracy, 26 last year to 23 this year; Hiseville, 35 last year to 32 this year; Park City, 29 last year to 32 this year; Red Cross, 79 last year to 83 this year; and Temple Hill, 29 last year to 28 this year.

Weaver also noted that the numbers at Barren County will likely change during the coming days as more parents register their children for preschool.

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