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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Program helps students prepare

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Little Buddy Bralee Head (center) listens to Forest Park Elementary second-grader Big Buddies Paige Burger (right) and Jazmin Hinkle (left) take turns reading Tuesday. The Big Buddy/Little Buddy program is a six-week program that is currently in effect at the northern elementary schools. The goal is to help preschoolers get into the buildings and know their surroundings before school begins in the fall. [Order this photo]
While the end of school is still more than a month away, some future students are already preparing for next fall.

The Big Buddy/Little Buddy program is currently underway at the elementary schools in the northern portion of the county.

"The program is intended to help the preschooler get into the building before they begin attending in the fall," Program Coordinator Arletta Kellar said. "A family member attends the weekly activity so the preschooler will be more familiar with their surroundings when school begins."

At Forest Park Elementary, the little buddy's took their first bus ride and learned about all the rules while riding the bus.

"This is an excellent program," Title 1 Coordinator Debbie Zimmerman said. "It exposes all the little buddies to the experiences at the school with the big buddies."

The six-week program allows the little buddies to tour the school and the library. Each preschooler has the opportunity to check out a library book. The highlight for the little buddies is when they are paired with their big buddy, a second-grader. The big buddy will read a book to the preschooler and then take part in a learning activity as well as a snack.

Haley Deckard, 5, a preschooler at the Linking Education to Adults, Adolescents and Preschoolers (LEAAP) Center enjoys visiting Forest Park Elementary where her brother Tyler is currently a student.

"I like when they read the books to us," she said. "I'm really excited about next year and riding the bus."

Deckard is the daughter of Kim and Andrew Deckard, Brazil, and her grandmother Connie Smock takes her for the visits.

"I think the Big Buddy/ Little Buddy program is wonderful," Smock said. "This is the best thing they have ever done for the preschool children."

Though the program is meant to help the preschoolers begin school, Zimmerman says it is also beneficial for the older students too.

"It is great for the big buddies," she said. "It gives them the chance to shine in reading."

The goal of the program is to help alleviate any problems preschools may have in transitioning to kindergarten in an encouraging way.

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