Howard Elementary School Principal Skip Pighetti walked to Tanner Pearce’s desk and picked up a piece of paper from the cubby.
He then held up the drawing to his face.
The 5-year-old drew a picture of Pighetti that was akin to a stick figure. Although it didn’t have much resemblance to Pighetti, the one thing in common was the lack of hair on his head.
“I see it,” Pighetti joked as he compared himself to the picture. “It’s not hard to draw a bald head. It’s pretty good if you ask me.”
Tanner was one of 17 kindergarteners entering Howard Elementary who spent the week at a three-day kindergarten camp.
The annual “Kindercamp” was held at the four Bald Eagle Area elementary schools in partnership with Cen-Clear Child Services to help students transition to a full day of school more easily before the first day on Aug. 31.
“It kind of gets those first day jitters out of the way,” Pighetti said. “Some students were hesitant to leave their parents, but quickly adjusted when they got acclimated with the school and Ms. (Sherri) True.”
It gave the future students a chance to see what a day in kindergarten is all about including bathroom and cafeteria etiquette, how to interact with other students, and how to conduct themselves on the school bus and playground.
“It’s the perfect time to give them a chance to see what school is like,” said kindergarten teacher Sherri True. “We go through basic routines and activities, and it helps close the gap with those students who may or may not have attended preschool before.”
And the camp at Howard saw a 100 percent attendance rate.
“It says a lot about a small community like this,” True said. “We work closely with the parents and they know how important days like this are to help the students — their children — adjust to school.”
There are about 110 kindergarteners attending Bald Eagle Area School District this year.
“I’m so excited to start school because I can make friends and I already know how to spell my name,” Jocelynne Bean, 5, said as she emphasized the word “so.”
Like Jocelynne, most of her classmates also know how to write and spell their names.
And that’s one thing educators said is important to know before heading into kindergarten.
“A lot of this starts with work at home,” Pighetti said.
He suggests parents work on the alphabet and number sense with their child before school starts.
Incoming kindergarteners are expected to know how to spell their names, how to count to at least 10, and identify letters and sounds, Pighetti said.
“Kindergarten curriculum at Bald Eagle is so intense that by the end of the year, these students will know what a noun, pronoun, verb and adjective is,” Pighetti said. “So when I walk in the room and Ms. True asks the kids what kind of pronoun Mr. Pighetti is, the kids say ‘he.’ Reading skills and language are very important.”
Other Centre County school districts are also holding similar camps for new students.