RANDOLPh, NJ- One hundred and ninety three future Randolph kindergarteners met their fellow classmates and teachers and even got to take a ride on a district school bus at kindergarten orientation programs at all four elementary schools earlier this month.
It was a day for making new friends and a day for playing with dinosaurs, building tall skyscrapers with blocks and coloring pictures and learning all about kindergarten.
At Shongum, children waited with their parents in the all-purpose room before going with teachers to visit the kindergarten rooms. Parents then attended a special program led by Principal Cliff Burns. "We are a child-centered school," Mr. Burns said after he welcomed parents to Shongum.
In the classrooms, children drew photos and listened to teachers read stories about kindergarten. Erin Scillia read "Countdown to Kindergarten'' to students in her classroom while Alyssa Catalano helped students color pictures about kindergarten in the room across the hall.
Parents at Shongum and Center Grove schools attended programs at each school on April 12 where everyone from the principal to the school nurse spoke to parents. At Center Grove, Principal Mario Rodas invited current kindergarteners to share some of their experiences about kindergarten and read short compositions they wrote. Curren Olsen said he enjoys the "free play" in kindergarten "because we can build blocks and because we can play with animals." Mr. Rodas also spoke about his love for being principal of Center Grove Elementary School.
At Center Grove, 56 future kindergarteners visited classrooms, colored pictures and listened to stories before riding the bus.
At Fernbrook on April 15, children were asked to plant a seed in a planter before going to visit the kindergarten classrooms while Principal Danielle Soldivieri welcomed parents to Fernbrook. "This has been a great day so far," kindergarten teacher Jennifer Mariani said. "So far, I have been invited on a play date and to start a band."
Next a future kindergartener cooked her up a cheeseburger in the kitchen and the teacher bent down to pretend to enjoy her lunch to the delight of the giggling children.
Just down the hall, Ms. Jessica Ballaban got her soon-to-be kindergarteners excited about riding a bus by singing "The Wheels on the Bus." As children lined in the hallway to prepare for their bus ride, many compared booboos. Fernbrook had 72 children attend the kindergarten orientation program.
Soon-to-be kindergartener Rebecca Dougherty jumped up and down and hugged friend Leah Phillips in a kindergarten classroom at Ironia on April 14. The two of them showed their parents the pictures they drew with teacher Danielle Acquaviva when it was time to go home.
But the biggest thrill of the day for Rebecca was riding the school bus. "My big brother goes on the school bus to Ironia every day," she said. "I liked riding on the school bus because it was bumpy."
When the future kindergarteners got off the bus, Randolph Transportation Director John Aymil talked to them about the importance of wearing seatbelts.
While children spent time in the kindergarten rooms, their parents walked around the cafeteria meeting with different school administrators and learning about everything from health forms to the PTO to the Community School's childcare programs and summer camps
At Ironia Elementary School, where the school has a very informal program for parents, mom Rose Abbey, who grew up in Randolph and attended Ironia herself, introduced son Holden, 5, to Principal David Kricheff. "I like visiting Ironia," Holden told Mr. Kricheff before riding the bus.
While children spent time in the kindergarten rooms, their parents walked around the cafeteria meeting with different school administrators and learning about everything from joining the PTO to the Community School's childcare programs and summer camps.
Photo caption: Future Center Grove kindergarteners board the board for bus during their orientation on April 12.