An average of 97 area preschoolers are participating in the Big Buddy Little Buddy program sponsored by Clay Community Schools.
The six-week program allows preschoolers to visit the elementary they'll be attending next year. Second-graders meet with the incoming students to read them a book. The preschooler gets to keep the book, take home an activity and enjoy a snack with the second-grader.
The children experience a different activity each week for one hour to prepare them for elementary school. They tour the elementary school, visit the kindergarten classes, sit on a school bus, eat in the cafeteria and more.
"The purpose of the program is to transition the children from preschool to kindergarten," Program Coordinator Arletta Kellar said. "It's a really neat program."
Each student must have an adult with them during the program, making it a possible family activity.
"The parents are very supportive and enthusiastic about (the program)," Kellar said.
Sandy Morlan, a grandmother who attends the program with her preschool granddaughter, Kassidy Price, each week, said she could see the positive impact the program is making.
"Just today in the car on the way here, (Kassidy) was so excited," Morlan said. "The program is getting them ready for kindergarten and getting them excited about it."
Morlan explained Kassidy, 5, was shy and usually wanted to sit on her lap during the program; however, she recently has been warming up and coming out of her shell.
Kassidy is the daughter of Kelly Price, Staunton, and she will be attending kindergarten at Staunton Elementary next year. Currently, Kassidy is a preschooler at Brazil Headstart.
According to Morlan, Kassidy's favorite part of the program is making snacks with her big buddy. She also loves visiting the library to pick out books.