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Little Feet Take Big Steps

New kindergarteners, parents visit Burke elementary school.

Some children came through the doors smiling, while others didn’t want to let go of mommy’s arm, but they all got their first glimpse into the world of kindergarten at White Oaks Elementary School, Monday, May 8.

The children weren't the only ones who were nervous about kindergarten. Some first-time parents expressed their concerns too, as they faced a time of separation from their little ones.

"I cried when I picked up the [registration] packets," said Rita Taylor, mother of future White Oaks kindergartener, Kimberly Taylor. "She's been in pre-school though, so I think she's ready."

Principal Connie Goodman and kindergarten teachers Jane Lomax and Lily Cha presented parents with some comforting information about kindergarten at White Oaks. The children were led out of the room to take a tour of the school, while parents sat through a presentation on education, safety and other important things to help ease this transitional phase for both parents and children.

"It's a mixed time," said Goodman. "You feel very sad, and very excited."

One mother said her son was worried kindergarten might be tough academically.

"He's a little nervous," said Patty Katz about her son, Robert. "He thinks in kindergarten he's going to have a math quiz."

Goodman introduced both kindergarten teachers, and each spoke to the room of parents about the safety and well-being at White Oaks. They encouraged parents to read to their children as often as possible and told parents to limit the quantity of television programs. Since kindergarten is meant to meet each child's different level of development, the packet of information materials given to parents said children should be equally ready as long as they turn 5 by Sept. 30, 2006.

"They come in really shy," said Lomax. "Then they're all of a sudden reborn."

Cha explained to parents that children will learn important math skills, using money and graphs. Both teachers stressed a hand-on environment, where each child will have the chance to learn and interact with one another.

"We do a lot of movement," said Lomax. "They're always interacting."

"We teach them to love to learn," said Lomax.