Its a high point of the summer for five year olds as Kindergarten teachers visit new students at home. Kindergarten children await the visit with great excitement, like five-year-old Jaramiah Delay who came bounding to the door to greet his new teacher, Laura Latta, when she made her visit.
His grandmother, Nora Delay, answered the door. “’Miah, come meet your teacher!”
After introducing herself, Latta presented Jaramiah with a bag of goodies. He began immediately to rummage through the bag. Starting with some yellow Play Doh, he began pressing a pancake shape. Then he opened up the magnetic alphabet letters. He sorted them on the refrigerator while he sang the alphabet song.
All five kindergarten teachers at Union’s Rosa Parks Elementary set out early to visit each student’s home. School starts the following week.
“We really want to make an individual connection,” said Erin Velez, community schools coordinator at Rosa Parks. “We know how important that relationship is not only for kids but for families.”
Shaleah Sallis, the school’s lead kindergarten teacher, paired up with Latta — starting her first year teaching kindergarten at Rosa Parks — to visit students from each of their classes. They knocked on doors at single-family homes, at duplexes and at apartments.
For the first 10 visits, almost nobody was home. Then they found the Delay family.
Jaramiah’s older sister, Briana, who will be going into first grade, came running to hug Sallis, whom she recognized from school last year.
“I was getting discouraged, but now I’m so happy,” said Latta, smiling after connecting with Jaramiah.
The children’s grandmother said it means a lot that teachers are willing to take an extra step to reach out to families.
“I think (the kids) feel so much more comfortable when they get to school,” Delay said.