LITTLE FALLS — Benton Hall Academy held its annual kindergarten orientation on Wednesday, giving incoming kindergartners a chance to get to know their new school and to meet their teachers.
It also gave some nervous parents a chance to know what school will be like for their child.
“Our goal is that the parents feel comfortable,” said Benton Hall Academy Principal Joe Long. “That they know their child is safe and they're always cared for.”
Students checked in at the school and filed into the auditorium with their parents at the start of the program. In what has become a tradition during the school's orientation, Little Falls City School District Superintendent Louis Patrei spoke to students and asked them to recite their ABCs and count from 1 to 20, said Long.
“He then pronounced them ready to start kindergarten,” said Long.
Also speaking during the orientation were Wyatt Sammons, the Little Falls-Fonda bus garage manager and Robin Ressue, with the Parent-Teacher Council. Long read a statement from Donna Todd, food service manager, since she was unable to attend. Other Benton Hall teachers and staff were present to get to know the incoming class.
Children were then escorted to their new classrooms. During that time, Long spoke to parents and encouraged them to call as soon as they feel like there is a problem.
“I always encourage parents to don't wait. Call me right away. I can address it right away and it usually takes care of it,” said Long. “If it doesn't, call me again.”
Long answered some parents' questions about school, including about the number of staff that supervises students who go on and off the bus, whether aides ride on the school bus and what time students need to be dropped off for the start of school.
Long also said that their school is “second to none because of the staff. I'm not just saying that. They watch out for the children like they are one of their own.”
The first day of school in the Little Falls City School District is Sept. 4. They are about 93 kindergartners signed up for the start of school, said Long, but noted that number is changing as they are still receiving more applications from parents. The class is split up into five sections, including Monica Getman who spoke to both parents and students in her classroom.
“This is my 14th year teaching kindergarten and I just love it,” she said.
Getman said she likes teaching kindergarten because “it's when you learn to like school or don't like school. We really try hard to make learning fun.”
Getman said kept kids busy while their parents were in the auditorium. She said she read “Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten,” showed them the different sections of the classroom, did a project, sang the ABCs and did a little dancing.
Page 2 of 2 - “We're very excited, both my wife and I,” said Justin Hummel, about their daughter Lily starting kindergarten. Lily made a necklace in Getman's classroom as her mother Heather filled out some paperwork.
“We're familiar with the process. She's very ready to get to school, just like her big brother,” Hummel added.
Other parents had some anxiety about the first day.
“I'm worried about her letting go of my leg,” said Stacey Palmer, whose daughter Jenna will also be starting in Getman's classroom. “It's the whole separation thing.”
Palmer said she works in the school's cafeteria, so she will be nearby.
“I think it will be good, though,” she said.
Stephanie Warn said she is feeling “overwhelmed” about the start of school for her daughter Madison.
“I'm excited, though. She's been here before. She came to the pre-K program here,” she said.
Also as a part of orientation, students got to line up in the cafeteria for a healthy snack and go on a short school bus ride.
Also teaching kindergarten this year is Stacey Barnett, Kristen Ford, MaryJo Morrissey and Amy Worobey, who will be teaching kindergarten for the first time. She previously taught as a fifth-grade teacher at the school.