On the couch at the Mannucci house in central Springfield, the book "What Your First-Grader Needs To Know" was the book of choice for August. Jerrod Mannucci, 5, was getting ready to start first grade at Crestwood Elementary School in early September.
Jerrod looked at the yearbook from last year, where his morning kindergarten went a half-day. This year will be a full day for Jerrod.
"He's going to be in my class," he said, pointing to a picture of one of the students.
"He is my very best friend," he said of another, while practicing karate moves he learned at the nearby karate place in Springfield. The double-chop stance was a favorite of Jerrod's. He's been taking karate for over a year and earned the rank of orange belt. To get to that level, the 5-year-old had to do something he wasn't ready for.
"You have to talk about yourself," he said.
Cindy Jerrod looked at her son.
"I think he's ready. He's been practicing a lot," she said.
Crestwood principal Pat Zissios said the first-grade teachers plan most of the academics in the morning and plan physical activity for later on.
"Most of the first-grade teachers discuss that with the parents," she said.
ART WAS A FAVORITE subject of Jerrod's last year, and he even has a favorite artist, Claude Monet.
"I like to paint," he said, and particularly liked the impressionistic style of Monet. He put the Monet book down and took a few steps back.
"From back here, it looks like a bridge," he said. Dogs and cats are a favorite subject of his paintings, though.
Last year, Jerrod did go on a few field trips to Lake Accotink, and even to meet President George Bush one time. His favorite moments remain lunch time and recess.
"I had a longer recess when it was warm. They sell ice cream, too. The blueberry makes my teeth chatter," he said. Pizza and cheese sticks were favorites as well.
There would be plenty of time to think about the upcoming year. His karate class was the topic of the summer, though, and at that age, the summer seems to last forever. He held up shards of wood, held together with a rubber band.
"I broke this with my bare feet," he said.