|9/2/2014 11:18:00 AM|
Back to school: All day for everyone
Kindergarten transitions to all day, everyday
|Amy Rothman, one of the new kindergarten teachers for Byron Public Schools, takes time out from organizing her room for a picture. |
Photo by David Richards
By David Richards
The Mr. Potato Heads are organized nicely in their bucket, as are the action figures, complete with Batman, Spider-Man and one of The Incredibles.
A colorful book, "Fred the Firefighter," sits nearby, as does "Curious George Goes to the Beach."
It's all part of Amy Rothman's kindergarten classroom at the Byron Community Education Center, and Rothman is looking forward to a great year.
"I'm probably about as giddy as the students are," she said.
For the 2014-2015 school year, which begins Sept. 8, kindergarten in Byron moves from all day, every other day to all day everyday to take advantage of newly allotted state funds and to create an overall better learning environment for students.
Byron has also expanded from four classroom kindergarten teachers to seven.
"We would actually go backward in funding if we didn't do it," Superintendent Jeff Elstad said. "And it's best for the kids to have it."
Rothman, who has taught preschool in Byron for the past five years, agreed.
She said the extra time will give students a nice balance between desk work and other activities.
"Academically, the kindergarten curriculum, compared to 10 years ago, is almost bumped up to the first grade level, and they need time to play and do large-motor activities," Rothman said. "Kids learn through playing, like pretending to be in a kitchen and using their vocabulary or when they interact with each other."
Rothman's also looking forward to getting to know each one of her 18 students as well and connecting with them more than would be possible perhaps in an all day, every other day setting.
Elstad echoed that statement.
"To me, learning is about relationships," Elstad said. "And the deeper the relationship with the teacher and the student, the more effective the learning experience will be."
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