Monday, June 18, 2018
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Program gives kindergartners a ‘Jump Start’

Dist. 20 skill-building class for pre-kindergartners in its fifth year

His hand propping up his head, Sam Horn seemed burrowed in deep concentration Monday morning in front of a computer.


For baby boomers, the sight was a bit startling since shoe tying and learning how to count to 10 is what many boomers remember learning in kindergarten.

And user-friendly laptop computers weren’t even on the horizon.

But in a District 20 kindergarten room, several youngsters pecked on computers as part of the Jump Start program.

The program teaches kids, who will begin kindergarten this year, academic and social skills.

Fifty-four of 60 children registered for kindergarten in District 20 are in Jump Start this year which started July 14 and will end Aug. 1.

Co-facilitator Anne Ostendorf said she likes both the academic and social part of the program.

For example, youngsters learn such things as how to walk in a line, be quiet in hallways and how to use manners during snack time.

Academics are taught in eight different centers that include technology, letter recognition and writing, math, reading, handwriting, colors and shapes, tracing and writing names and letter recognition and sounds.

On Fridays, students check out books from the school library.

“It takes away anxieties about the first day of school,” said Ostendorf who is a first-grade teachers.

School begins Aug. 15.

Michelle Stienike, who also teaches first-grade, is the other facilitator.

Now into its second week, Ostendorf said the program has gone smoothly, noting that there were just a few tears on the first day.

Asked their favorite part of Jump Start, the following youngsters replied:

“When you get to trace your name.”—Amelia Flesner.

“I love playing with Jaxon outside.”—Aubrey Cross.

“I like writing my name and playing with friends.”—Hunter White.

“I love to see my Mom everyday because she works here.”—Kiarra Jonas. (Kiarra’s mother is Allison Jonas, a Dudley Elementary principal.)

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