April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Hope Elementary adds third kindergarten class

By By Paul [email protected]

The creation of a third kindergarten class is alleviating growing pains at Hope Elementary School.

And making for a more intimate setting in all three classes.

Jessica Poe, the school principal, said enrollment in the age category grew from 47 students last school year to 58 this school year, a difference of 23.4 percent. She said that by adding a third kindergarten class, the school is able to keep individual class sizes to fewer than 25 students, a number that Poe has always considered the highest-end, ideal number for children to get the attention they need.

One of the greatest challenges for kindergarten teachers is classroom management, Poe said. A room full of too many young students can quickly become too much for a teacher and perhaps an aide to handle. Having smaller class sizes helps teachers maintain control, she said, so they and students can develop a stronger relationship that ultimately helps each student learn what he is there to learn.

"If you have a class with low academic needs, then you can sometimes get by with 26 or 27 (students)," Poe said. But she added that kindergarten, first grade and second grade are too young to qualify.

As such, Hope Elementary School also has a new kindergarten teacher.

Patricia Kimrey, a former pre-kindergarten teacher in the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp., came to the Flat Rock-Hawcreek School Corp. at the front of the school year, Poe said. The new teacher joins Stacy Kirk, a returning kindergarten teacher, and Bethany Mize.

Kirk and Mize indicated in a joint, written statement that they are excited about the smaller class sizes.

"Kindergarten is often the first public schooling experience children receive," they said. "Children enter kindergarten at a variety of academic and social levels. Having small class sizes and support from assistants helps teachers create an environment where success can thrive.

"Building strong foundations in kindergarten will benefit students as they more through all grades."

The teachers said small classes allow for one-on-one attention, cut down on disciplinary issues and help students build deeper relationships with peers.

"Teachers can foster a family atmosphere where students are accepted and collaborate with each other to ensure all succeed," they said.

All kindergarten classes at Hope Elementary School run for the full day.[[In-content Ad]]