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Archive for Sunday, April 11, 1999

NEW YORK KINDERGARTNERS GET A TASTE OF SCHOOL

April 11, 1999

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Preschool students make a visit to kindergarten classroom.

Dressed in Batman sneakers and carrying a backpack, Damitrious McCawley looked ready for school.

But the 4-year-old didn't want to go.

"I want to stay with you," he told his mother, Shannan McCawley.

Damitrious and other future New York School students, along with their parents, attended last week's kindergarten round-up at the school.

"He's not as scared as his brother was," Shannan McCawley said. "He wasn't sure he wanted to go in. He wasn't going to come until I told him he could play on the playground."

Damitrious drew pictures with future classmates while waiting to be tested for vision, hearing, cognitive development and social skills.

"Coming to school is a big step for him," McCawley said. "But he's ready. He can do everything, but he doesn't want to write his name."

Kindergarten round-up is held each spring as a way to prepare 4- and 5-year-olds for school the next fall.

While students play and teachers assess their needs, parents fill out medical histories and other paperwork.

"It gives the teachers an idea of what the needs are of children coming to school," said Phyllis Kulp, the school's reading specialist. "It gives parents an opportunity to see what school is like, and children can meet the classroom teachers, because the first day of school can be scary. It's good from both ends."

New York Principal Sharen Steele encouraged parents to ask questions and to get involved in school activities.

"We want you to be part of the school," she said.

Isabella Goodlett, 5, didn't have any qualms about being in a classroom.

"I want to go because I like it there," she said. "There's a lot of things to play with here. We might make stuff."

-- JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is jwatson@ljworld.com.

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