BY MACK SPENCER
OKOLONA – Some 4-year-olds have already been to school here.
Okolona Elementary School held its second annual Pre-Kindergarten Fair on Friday for students who will enter kindergarten in the fall.
“This is something our parent center does through our reading excellence grant, called Kids First,” parent center director Jan Carter said. “It's part of our program called Bounce to Kids First.' It allows us to introduce the younger students to the campus, the kindergarten teachers and assistants, the principal and even the nurse.”
The kindergarten teachers and assistants set up booths for face-painting, a beanbag throw, a cake walk and other activities for the children, mainly from local daycare centers, to participate in.
The children also were given packets containing the information needed for school registration, supply lists and tips for parents on how they can help their children at home.
“I firmly believe that parents are a child's first teacher,” Carter said. “The activities in the packet are geared to be parent-child activities and give parents quality time with their children.
“Part of the mission of the parent center is to offer family literacy services,” she said. “This is one of the interventions we do that brings parents in.”
Teachers and assistants at the school said the first fair, held last spring, showed results this school year.
“I like working with the kids and meeting them before the fall,” said Sherlonda Boyd, a kindergarten assistant. “I think it makes them comfortable knowing they're going to be in a room with a teacher they've met and are familiar with.”
“The students came in more adjusted and ready for school,” teacher Priscilla Prather said. “They remember coming to the fair. Several of them came in last fall and said they'd come here to the circus' last year.”