Thursday, December 1, 2022

Readiness Workshop Acclimates Kindergarten Students at St. Patrick School in Carlisle

At St. Patrick School in Carlisle, kindergarten teachers offered their annual Kindergarten Readiness Workshop in person, with special modifications for public health concerns.
Teachers Jessica Melphis and Jolene Cramm have held a class for rising kindergarten students for several years. This year, the preparation took on a lot of added safety features and discussion.
The students and teachers practiced appropriate social distancing (with the help of hula hoops as their personalized work stations) and wore masks. Each child was provided with their own set of materials. In regular kindergarten work, the students practiced identifying letters and letter sounds, as well as identifying numbers and counting.
“This has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for both myself and the students,” Melphis said. “We are all so excited to be learning together in person again, even if it looks a lot different than we’re used to.”
Cramm agreed, saying, “This week was about more than just practicing academic skills to prepare students for kindergarten. The children gained confidence in themselves, became comfortable with their teachers and new friends, and learned how to social distance in school, wear masks, and still have fun.”
The teachers said the skills the students practiced will help them be successful in kindergarten, but really they just enjoyed being together.
“Even six feet apart, they were able to establish friendships that will be there on the first day of school,” Melphis said. “The students even surprised me by not complaining about wearing their masks. Thanks to the parents preparing them, they were able to wear them for a longer period of time.”
St. Patrick School is planning to open in its physical building and hold school in person five days a week starting Aug. 24, according to Principal Antoinette Oliverio.
“We believe it will be beneficial for our students and staff to return to instruction in person. Our goal is to offer that in a safe, secure and supportive environment,” Oliverio said.
The school has approximately 350 students ranging from 3-year-old preschool to eighth grade. Staff has been working all summer on health and safety protocol, staff and teacher training and strategic planning. Class sizes will be capped to keep them at or below WHO and CDC recommendations, Oliverio said.
(Lisa Maddux is the Development Director at St. Patrick School in Carlisle.)
By Lisa Maddux, Special to The Witness

Kindergarteners Katie Krebs, Brooke Czarnecki, and Gabriel Harlan practice social distancing and wearing masks as they prepare for their first day at St. Patrick School in Carlisle.
Brooke Czarnecki sits within her hula hoop work station during a kindergarten readiness session.
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