Monday, July 08, 2002

Kids learn school skills

Library helps to ease transition

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        HAMILTON — Five-year-old Josh Meece lay still as his mom, Julie, traced his body on a large piece of paper in a basement room at Lane Public Library's Third Street building.

        When she finished, his paper was taped to the wall along with those of nine other 4- and 5-year-olds enrolled in the Getting Ready for Kindergarten program that meets on Wednesdays at the Hamilton branch and on Fridays in Oxford.

        “It felt good. It's kind of fun,” said Josh, who will enter St. Peter in Chains kindergarten class next month.

        For an hour each week, Charlene Sirn does crafts with the children, teaches skills and tells stories. Parents do an opening activity with their child as everyone arrives and Ms. Sirn goes over homework. During class time, parents leave the room, returning if needed at the end to help with a craft.

        Ms. Sirn works with the children on skills they will use in kindergarten: taking turns, recognizing colors, numbers, letters and shapes, separating from mom, following directions and working in a group.

        The program is a natural outgrowth of the library's Story Time for preschool children, said Lois Brown, head of children's services at the Hamilton branch. But unlike Story Time, parents don't stay for the entire hour, and skills are taught.

        “We're providing new skills children need for their next step — kindergarten,” Ms. Brown said. “When we're looking at what is going on with 5- and 6-year-olds, we see they are getting ready for kindergarten. This helps provide a transition.”

       Classes will begin again in the fall. For more information, call 894-1409 for Hamilton, and 523-7531 for Oxford.


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