The school year isn't over yet, but already some prospective students are gearing up for next year and they couldn't be more excited. Next year's kindergarten class got a taste of what school is about on Thursday.
Whether it's a parent's first or last child starting school, going into kindergarten is a big step and parents and children need to be ready.
Parent Elizabeth Godwin has been patiently waiting her turn.
"It's very exciting to finally join the ranks at Appleton [Elementary]," she said.
Her family has eight students in, or through, Appleton, and her five year old will start kindergarten this fall and join the family tradition.
"He's dying to get started, he wants to jump right in there with the rest of the kids," Godwin said.
For many other to-be kindergarten students, from what they've seen so far, school is looking pretty fun.
"Especially for him, I think, to see the classroom and to see where he's going to be, it helps him be a little less nervous," parent Kim Gunderson said. Gunderson is preparing to send her youngest child off to kindergarten.
On Thursday, School District 51 rounded up the next generation of kindergarteners to introduce them to their future classrooms and teachers.
"[The day showed them] what it looks like to be in kindergarten, what the actual environment looks like, and just to be more comfortable," kindergarten teacher Barb Bingham said.
Some parents whose children are in preschool say they aren't expecting a difficult transition.
"[My son is] used to being away from me, so I won't have him screaming and crying and clinging to my leg hopefully," Gunderson said.
"Preschool, I think, was very important for him to get adjusted to the social aspects of school," Godwin added.
Teachers say mature students who haven't had prior schooling can adjust to be strong students.
"They just have to figure out what the expectations are, because a school setting is usually so much different than a home environment," Bingham said.
But regardless of preschool, starting a new chapter like kindergarten can be overwhelming for some.
"There's going to be new kids that they've never met before. That's going to happen every year, which is exciting and scary at the same time," licensed professional counselor Scott Aber said.
But Aber says parents can help that transition starting now. Driving by the school and getting excited for the student, attending open houses or even doing flashcards to get kids thinking are all a plus, he says.
"Whether they're just turning five or whatever, there's plenty of things children can do to prepare them," Aber said.
These steps can help students so come August, the new kindergarten classes are ready to go.
Thursday's roundup also allowed parents to register their students early and get all of their necessary forms turned in.
Aber says no matter how parents are feeling, it's especially important they don't cry in front of their child. This is because children react to their parents' emotions. He says parents should instead stay excited and positive about their child going to school when they're in front of him or her.
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