Kindergarteners bring parents, sack lunches to meet their teachers
Peanut butter and jelly was the hands-down favorite menu item Monday at the kindergarten picnic, held at McPolin Elementary School. The first-time event was an informal lunch with no real agenda, explained kindergarten teacher Paul Barton. The picnic was organized to give parents, students, and teachers the chance to meet before the school year officially begins. After lunch, kids had the chance to run around, tumble down the hill, and explore the playground. The kids were also allowed to get dirty. They dipped their hands in finger-paints then pasted their handprints onto canvas to make class flags.
Little kids usually don’t like being left out of the action, Barton explained, and the school thought it would be good to get the kindergarten involved in the first day action. According to Barton, the Park City School District (PCSD) kindergarten classes don’t start until Thursday, Aug. 28 because they don’t want the younger kids getting lost in the commotion with the older kids on the first day.
Soon-to-be kindergarteners discussed their hopes and fears for the upcoming year. Livie Hill said she’s going to learn how to spell and read this year. Sophia Domonoske, age 5, said that she already knows that on the first day of school she’s going to wear green pants with a stripped shirt that her cousin gave her. Adam Hodge said that school would be different this year since he’s attending, "the big kids’ one."
Parents also had the chance to talk about the upcoming year. Families new to town found helpful advice on topics such as local doctors and childcare.
For many of the kindergarteners, this won’t be their first school experience. Domonoske said she was in pre-school last year so she’s not scared of going to kindergarten. Leisl Simmons, parent of kindergartener Sophia Simmons, said that her daughter will be going to McPolin two days a week, and will stay at Sandcastles pre-school for the rest of the week until she feels comfortable. Leisl, who is also the Parent Teacher Organization president, explained that 35 to 40 percent of the kindergarteners are in the English as a Second Language (ESL) program at McPolin. Her concern is that her daughter won’t be challenged enough since she already knows how to read.
For kids who are going to school for the first time, the biggest hurdles are learning to trust their classmates and familiarizing themselves with the routine explained teachers in the ESL department.
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In an intriguing sidebar to the overall Park City Planning Commission talks about a proposed project at Park City Mountain Resort, the developer recently mentioned a future Winter Olympics in the context of the project.