Preparing for kindergarten

Learning tools needed for school

NILES — Local children accompanied by parents and guardians learned what to expect when they enter kindergarten in the fall. The fourth annual Trumbull County “Kids are Cruising into Kindergarten” event was held Saturday at Eastwood Mall.

Desiree Farragher, kindergarten transition committee coordinator, said the event is designed to help prepare both children and parents for the transition of their child to kindergarten.

She said children ages 4 and 5 could take part in 11 interactive learning stations in health and nutrition, bus safety, fine motor skills and literacy, including hands-on learning activities designed to educate them on what skills will be necessary for kindergarten.

“The stations relate to the core standards for kindergarten. At each station there also is handouts and information to take home,” Farragher said.

The children could see what it is like to be on a school bus, learn how to rhyme words, put items into categories and eat healthy.

Between 250 and 300 children were scheduled to participate.

“We are fortunate that the event has grown each year. This year we have 31 community partners involved including schools and mental health agencies who are helping us,” Farragher said.

Jessica Logan, preschool teacher Jefferson PK-8 School in Warren, said the math station she directed had children learn by using pattern blocks, uniform cubes and animal figurines sorted by groups.

“The children are using fine motor skills to write letters and make shapes,” she said.

Erica Harvey of Warren whose son, Sae’Von Harvey, 5, will attend kindergarten saw the event as a good way to meet the Warren school teachers and learn what kindergarten will entail.

Patricia Fisher, Warren school district math coordinator said children learn to sort dinosaurs and animals by category and then by size. Amber Fry, a Youngstown State University volunteer, had children take part in building with blocks and playing with a parachute and balls.

Therese Meechan, Prospect kindergarten teacher said the event is very helpful not only for the kids, but for the first-time kindergarten parents as well.

“This gets the parents and child familiarized and ready for kindergarten,” she said.

Kristi Mellot, a first-year kindergarten teacher in Girard, said children can meet the teacher they may have.

“They meet us and then we become a familiar face when they start school,” she said.