Bascom transitions children who didn’t attend preschool

LEAVITTSBURG — Entering kindergarten can be a new experience for children who have not been to preschool, so LaBrae’s Bascom Elementary School is making sure children are prepared through a summer program called “Bounce into Bascom.”

Stephanie Walton, kindergarten teacher, said 39 children entering kindergarten have taken part in the three-week program where they attend a half day, becoming familiar with the daily routine of the school.

“We start the students attending a half day in the summer and then when they attend kindergarten, they attend full day. This is a transition for them as they get used to school and go from a half day to a full day,” Walton said.

She said the main objective is to allow the students the opportunity to get used to where things are in the school and classroom, how to ride a school bus, and learning school rules and procedures.

“We want to help put them at ease,” Walton said.

Helping the two kindergarten teachers are adult staff and high school and middle school students.

Walton said by the end of the program, children will be able to write their name and know what a day in kindergarten will be like. Children also work on letters, numbers and holding scissors and pencils correctly.

Kindergarten teacher Tina Toumazos and Walton said students were identified for the summer program following the kindergarten screenings held in the spring.

Walton said they look for students who have not attended preschool or may have hard time separating from parents.

“I really feel the program helps make a difference. This is the first school experience for many children. I will see some of the children in my class and they are often the leaders being familiar with the room and where things are in the school,” Walton said.

She said it is helpful to the teachers to be able to have students who already know the rules and what school is like.

Mia Cruse, 5, said she learned her letters and writing her name. Hunter Hineman, 5, said he has learned where things are in the building, such as the office and cafeteria.

Principal Maggie Kowach said the program is made possible by a $2,756 grant from the Arnett Family Fund of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley. She said the grant helps cover transportation costs of getting children to the school and home.

Kowach said many children could not get there without transportation.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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