By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — For new students, adjusting to the school routine can be a challenging one, especially for kindergartners.
Dearborn Public Schools allows incoming kindergartners to participate in its Jump Start program where they attend school for one week learning the normal workings of a classroom before school begins on Sept. 6.
Becker, DuVall, Henry Ford, William Ford, Geer Park, Lowrey, Maples, McCollugh, McDonald, MIller, Nowlin, Oakman, Salina and Snow elementary schools participated this year.
The program ran from Aug. 22 to 25 at the schools.
Henry Ford Elementary had about 50 students split between five teachers who help kindergartners adjust to a routine and listening to directions.
“The program is great for anyone who has never been to preschool, a program outside of Dearborn or day care,” Henry Ford kindergarten teacher Aileen Chromicz said. “We can gage where the students are, meet the parents, sign writing activities and see what their dominate hand is.”
Kindergartners get to experience attending their special classes such as music, media, art and gym as well as lunch, where they also learn how to be quiet and line up in the hallways.
“This makes a big difference for students as they are easing into the school system,” Chromicz said. “There was a couple of tears the first day, but it has been smooth since.”
They learn basic rules like how and where to use the bathroom, taking turns, raising hands and sitting on the carpet when asked.
“If children have never been in school settings it helps with that because they are getting an idea of how school is and not being overwhelmed,” Henry Ford kindergarten teacher Angela Isham said. “It’s a really good program to have here.”
Following the Jump Start, every elementary school plans a Soft Start program during the first week of school where kindergartners attend class part-time.
Throughout that week, teachers will hold a variety of activities, meet with parents and conduct home visits.
Kindergartners then officially start the school year Aug. 13, the week after classes start for all other grade levels.
For more information on the Jump Start or Soft Start programs call 313-827-3026.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)