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Kindergarten roundups begin
Events help children, their parents adjust
Elvis the Safety Owl likely will appear at many of the kindergarten roundup events Forsyth County elementary schools are holding this week. - photo by For the FCN


The following is a schedule of kindergarten roundups at the Forsyth County elementary schools that have not already held theirs:

* Tuesday: Shiloh Point at 8:30 a.m.; Chestatee and Cumming, both at 9 a.m.

* Wednesday: Kelly Mill at 8:30 a.m.; Chattahoochee and Settles Bridge, both at 9 a.m.

* Thursday: Big Creek at 8:35 a.m. and Johns Creek at 9:30 a.m.

* Friday: Matt at 8:30 a.m.; Sharon at 9 a.m.; and Mashburn at 9:30 a.m.

* Aug. 6: Brookwood, Coal Mountain and Sawnee, all at 8 a.m.; Whitlow at 9:30 a.m.; Haw Creek at 10 a.m.; and Daves Creek at 10:30 a.m.


Source: Forsyth County Schools

Wednesday’s turnout was the largest Paige Andrews had seen for a kindergarten roundup.

“Last year, we had a really big crowd and we had even more parents participate this year,” said Andrews, principal of Silver City Elementary.

The school was among the first in the county to hold its annual roundup, which she described as “wonderful.”

Vickery Creek and Midway elementary schools also held their events last week, with the remainder scheduled between Tuesday and Aug. 6, when the district’s elementary schools will hold open houses.

During the roundups, rising kindergarteners wait at their respective bus stops with their parents, just like they will on the first day of school. But instead of saying goodbye, the parents board the bus and ride to school to help ease the transition.

“It gives the students a little bit of familiarity with what’s going to happen,” said Garry Puetz, transportation director. “There’s nothing worse than trying to get a kindergartener on the school bus on the first day of school when they’ve never been on the bus or away from mom and dad.

“It also gives the mothers and dads a little bit of comfort.”

In most cases, Puetz said, students and parents get to meet the same bus drivers who will be in charge of that route all year.

“The actual drivers who will be with these students every day for 178 days, will be doing the kindergarten roundup with these students,” Puetz said. “I think it’s very effective.

“Our department and the schools and the parents want exactly the same thing. They want their kids taken care of from the time they leave the house to the time they get back to the house.”

Shiloh Point Elementary Principal Rebecca Johnson said she attempts to make the roundup a “celebration of that very first ride on the school bus.”

“We love having our parents climb on the bus with the children and ride to school so they understand the procedures and so the children feel safe and secure with a parent there,” she said. “Most of the children are so excited. They have older brothers and sisters and they have neighbors who they look up to who ride the bus and they want to be like that.

“But the buses do look large to kindergarteners who are coming to school for the very first time, so I think this is just a very positive experience for the children and their parents.”

As is the case at all the schools, after students and their parents are taken to Shiloh Point, they will hear from drivers about safety.

“We have a simple transportation talk, we’ll do a treat for the children, we introduce them to our playground ... and then they get to climb back on the bus and ride home,” Johnson said.

Back at Silver City, Andrews said a mother at the school “gave a testimonial and talked about her children’s experiences riding the bus.”

“We went over the benefits of riding the bus and we walked parents through exactly what their students would do on the first day of school,” Andrews said. “All of the bus drivers who drive for Silver City were also in attendance and were introduced to parents.”