Teacher Leslie Newman and teaching assistant Janis DiBernardo were cheerful and easygoing as they welcomed kindergartners to orientation at Todd Elementary today.
“I have been teaching for 27 years and this is brand-new,” she said.
This year Ms. Newman and Ms. DiBernardo will be switching off between two classes with nine and eight students in each room. Although ensuring students keep their masks on at all times and maintain a six feet distance might be a challenge, Ms. Newman is up for the task.
“In kindergarten you always have to be flexible,” she explained. “Every day you’re on your feet. The students will have to learn things that are adult-like, such as keeping six feet apart, which may be a challenge,” she added.
After meeting the students in the cafeteria, Ms. Newman and Ms. DiBernardo took them to the classroom where everyone organized their supplies, listened to Ms. Newman read a book and then painted with watercolors. While they were painting they listened to Ms. Newman’s favorite station on Pandora, Classical Goes Pop. The students listened to a classical version of Someone Like You by Adele, which was soothing and added to the calm atmosphere in the classroom. Tomorrow they will watch a video that will explain safety procedures, such as washing hands and keeping distance.
For parents who may be anxious about sending their kindergartner to school for the first time Ms. Newman recommends that they simply remain positive.
“Kids sense it. See it as a new experience. Focus on the positive and power through,” she said.
We wish the kindergartners and all K-8 Briarcliff students who are starting their first day tomorrow a wonderful first day of school!