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Archive for Monday, August 16, 2010

Preschoolers take dip into academic pool

Youngsters learn how to be students

From left, Kennedy preschoolers Kieran Bryant, Levi Cottrell, Mason Fewell, Madison Newman, Hannah Hillebert and Trey Green line up for lunch, Monday, August 16, 2010 at Kennedy School. It was the first day of preschool for approximately 130 students at Kennedy.

From left, Kennedy preschoolers Kieran Bryant, Levi Cottrell, Mason Fewell, Madison Newman, Hannah Hillebert and Trey Green line up for lunch, Monday, August 16, 2010 at Kennedy School. It was the first day of preschool for approximately 130 students at Kennedy.

August 16, 2010

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School Days

Experience the sights and sounds of the first day of school with Kennedy preschoolers. Enlarge video

Young students get start at new school

Four and five-year-olds were in their new classrooms at Kennedy Elementary Monday. The new classrooms were part of the plan made when an area early childhood center was closed. Enlarge video

In Donna Lang’s room at Kennedy School, there are no homework assignments, no math problems and not even any desks.

Talk about a dream: Sleeping for 90 minutes after lunch actually is encouraged.

“This is school,” Lang said with a broad smile Monday, before ushering her charges to one of four potty breaks for the day. “They’re learning how to sit and listen and stay on task.”

Welcome to the first day of school for the youngest pupils in the Lawrence school district: 130 preschoolers at Kennedy, the new home for the district’s Pre-K program.

Preschooler Keyon Free studies the high ceiling of the cafeteria as he sits for lunch with his classmates Monday at Kennedy School.

Preschooler Keyon Free studies the high ceiling of the cafeteria as he sits for lunch with his classmates Monday at Kennedy School.

The school at 1605 Davis Road, which is across Harper Street from the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds, is welcoming such youngsters for the first time. A reconfiguration and remodeling project brought kids over from East Heights School, a property that now accommodates the Boys and Girls Club.

At Kennedy, 4- and 5-year-olds now snack, nap and learn in rooms that formerly had been home to traditional elementary classes. Only now, the spaces have been outfitted with $70,000 worth of additional doors and other features designed to accommodate the needs of the pre-K crowd.

The program is operating at capacity, in both full-day and half-day versions.

“It’s an exciting day. It’s an emotional day,” said Cris Anderson, in her first year as Kennedy principal, after previously leading the East Heights Early Childhood Center. “This is the first time that a lot of parents have had their 4-year-olds leave home and be at someplace called school.”

Hannah Hillebert, 4, grinned her way through her first day of class — learning to sit quietly with her legs crossed, raise her hands in conjunction with music and line up before heading to the cafeteria for a yummy turkey sandwich.

She also managed to stomp playfully in the hallway, lighting up her new Twinkle Toes shoes while reflecting on her favorite part of school.

“We get to play in the pool,” she said, without a moment’s hesitation.

Ah, yes. Preschool.

The “pool,” of course, actually is a “Sensory” center by the classroom’s front door: a raised-edge table that for one day, at least, had been topped with water and a collection of rubber duckies, toy fish, a funnel and other items to give youngsters a chance to feel, play and learn.

“It’s going wonderfully,” Lang said, preparing for nap time. “I don’t think they get to ‘swim’ in any other class.”

No, Kennedy’s other 274 students — the ones in kindergarten through sixth grade — started last week, and already are getting homework assignments, working on math problems and sitting at their desks.

For Hannah and her 129 classmates in the Classes of 2022 and 2023, such responsibilities will just have to wait.

Comments

autie 3 years, 8 months ago

well by god back when I was a kid them boys would've just been sent home...and told that Halloween was Oct. 31.

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frankfussman 3 years, 8 months ago

"Twenty years of schooling and they put you on the day shift" -- Bob Dylan

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mr_right_wing 3 years, 8 months ago

Hhhhmmmm....which is more abusive?

Now--when they give little kids mohawks ..or.. Then--when they used to give kids mullets

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FreshAirFanatic 3 years, 8 months ago

And so it begins. "Sit, listen and stay on task." Welcome to your new life in the factory kids.

So sad.

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cntrygrl 3 years, 8 months ago

"The school at 1605 Davis Road, which is across Harper Street from the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds, is welcoming such youngsters for the first time."

So, then I guess the Headstart class that was there for many, many years doesn't count??

But, since the Headstart class was so easily tossed aside when the changes occurred, I guess the key word would be "welcoming".

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nobody1793 3 years, 8 months ago

Parents, please don't give your toddlers mohawk haircuts.

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mdrndgtl 3 years, 8 months ago

I sure hope the pool is properly staffed. It is easy to lose track of this many kids when only a couple lifeguards are on duty.

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