After almost two months, the 32 students of McDuffie County’s Rising Kindergarten Summer Transition Program completed the program that aimed to prepare them for kindergarten with academic and social lessons. Teachers Zebearl Scott and Tanisha Whitaker taught the students with Paraprofessionals Lynetta Kendrick and Alfreda Benson. While the students worked on their preparations for school, parents also had the opportunity to learn how to support them in their journey through workshops. Mary Cummings and Barbara Smith acted as transition coaches for this portion of the program.
In the program, students worked on fundamentals. In academics, they learned such things as how to recognize letters and numbers, spell their names, and count their numbers. On the social side, they learned things like best practices for hand-washing and how to play well with others. Whitaker said the program is really needed.
“A lot of those kids haven’t been in any program,” she said. “It gets them on the right track for kindergarten.”
In particular, with the social skills, Whitaker said that students have not had a lot of exposure to those around their own age. Usually, she said, the students stay around adults.
“They’re not used to being around our children,” she said. “It’s not just academics; it’s social skills.”
At the beginning, Scott said that some students came in crying and unaware of numbers. Since they have done the work of the program, Scott said she’s seen students gain confidence, make friends, and learn how to do things like counting.
“I’m just amazed with the growth that some of them achieved in such a short time,” Scott said. “It’s been a wonderful experience for me as a teacher, as well as with them as students, seeing them blossom.”