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    Jump Start Cultivates Welcoming Environments for Kindergartners
    Posted on 08/23/2018
    Teacher and students in the classroom for Jump Start

    Jump Start Cultivates Welcoming Environments for Kindergartners

    Smoke and ash from regional wildfires may have clouded city views, but at Hawthorne Elementary School, teachers and staff wore sunny smiles as they welcomed children and families on Mon., Aug. 20.

    One child ran up to a teacher to offer up a high-five. “I had a good summer,” said the young boy. “Did you?” The teacher smiled, and in response, the boy began to share his summer stories with animated moves and gestures.

    Across Seattle Public Schools’ 54 Jump Start sites, teachers and staff welcomed new faces into the fold. Some youngsters recognized friends and staff members from their preschool years and waved, while some shyly hid their faces behind their parents.

    “Starting kindergarten is one of life’s biggest transitions,” said Mary Fickes, early learning coordinator at Seattle Public Schools. “We try to make Jump Start a predictable, friendly, and calm entry to school so kids and their families can surrender a little of their anxiety.”

    Teacher and students sitting in a classroomEach year, the district welcomes incoming kindergarten students and their families to experience their school early through Jump Start, a free, week-long immersive experience. Jump Start gives kindergartners an opportunity to learn about school, their building, staff, typical school day activities, and practices. Parents and guardians can also meet with the principal to ask questions about school.

    Hundreds of Seattle Public Schools staff (kindergarten teachers, special education and English Language Learners staff, instructional assistants, family support staff, parent teacher association representatives – along with administrative secretaries, principals, assistant principals, and custodians) have devoted a week of their summer break to welcome young new learners to school. To support all learners and their needs, bilingual, and special education staff are also present to help ensure that every child has a positive experience.

    Jump Start learning is taking place from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. daily in 54 Seattle Public Schools elementary and k-8 schools. Through high-quality instruction, positive adult beliefs, and effective educators, the Jump Start Program is one of many educational opportunities focused on giving every child the foundation they need to succeed in school.

    Read more about Jump Start.