More than 280 children are being oriented to kindergarten classrooms and acclimated to school routines in the Rising Stars program, a three-week program that welcomes and prepares students to start kindergarten successfully in August
“Few things are more daunting for young children than the transition from the comforts of home to a structured classroom environment,” said Superintendent Dr. Don Phipps. “The Rising Stars program is specifically designed to address this transition, which helps children to become more familiar with the formal school environment and better acquainted with a school-centered routine.”
The Rising Stars Open House was held on Monday, July 10 for all participating students and their parents, which served as the official kick-off for the next three weeks. The program operates from Jul 10 to Aug 3, 8:00 am to 12:00 pm, Monday through Thursday.
Each elementary school operates a Rising Stars program for those students enrolled in that particular school. There is no cost to families, and lunch is provided daily through the Summer Meals Program.
“Students are transitioning to a new school environment,” said Helena Vanhorn, Director of Preschool Programs. “Learning includes literacy and STEM activities as well as playing games to practice teamwork and how to communicate effectively.”
In addition to literacy and STEM, students are also taught skills in listening and learning the alphabet, numbers, and colors. Classrooms do not exceed more than 15 students, and each classroom has one teacher and an instructional assistant.
Dana Hicks, Rising Stars Program Administrator, sees the positive effects it has on children and their parents, especially with separation anxiety. “It’s the first step for both child and parent entering the public school setting, and we want them to feel welcomed, comfortable, and inspired,” Hicks said. “The kids enjoy it and have fun in the classroom. It’s a positive experience, and that’s what really matters.”