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Miller: Kindergarten program celebrates 100 days

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

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Maggie Lesk has wanted to teach young children for as long as she can remember. This year, she fulfilled that goal when she became a teacher for the Batavia Park District’s Kindergarten Enrichment Program.

Lesk received a degree in elementary education with a minor in special education in 2011 from Aurora University. She had been a guest teacher for East Aurora School District 131 and a student teacher at Hoover Wood Elementary School. When Lesk saw the park district sought teachers for the Kindergarten Enrichment Program, she knew she had to apply.

“I knew the program would be the perfect fit for me,” Lesk said, “I am able to work in the same elementary school I grew up in and work for the park district where I was a gymnast for eight years. Both played a major role in shaping my education.”

On Feb. 5, the program celebrated 100 days. Lesk took it upon herself to develop a lesson plan dedicated to those days.

“We started the day with an activity about what we wished we could have 100 of,” she said. “The answers varied from penguins to french fries to 100 Miss Lesks!”

The children spent the day walking 100 steps, doing crafts with the number 100 and making a list of 100 foods they would or wouldn’t eat. While most of the activities were fun and lighthearted, the central theme was learning.

“All afternoon we discussed 100 things we had learned in class so far,” Lesk said. “I can’t believe how much the students have progressed from the beginning of the year. Each student is now reading and taking in new information every day. I’m so excited to see where they will be in May.”

The program has been designed to complement the half-day kindergarten program so parents have the option to provide their child with a full day of learning. It weaves academic concepts – such as literacy, science, mathematics and reasoning – into recreational, artistic and musical activities.

The goal of the program, according to recreation supervisor Rachel Schmit, is for children to develop essential skills that build the foundation for lifelong learning within positive social, emotional and recreational experiences. Schmit is very happy with the first 100 days and sees value in the program.

“This first year of the Kindergarten Enrichment Program has been nothing short of amazing for us,” Schmit said. “As with any new endeavor, there has been a learning curve, but with each new discovery or challenge we have seized it as an opportunity to make a positive change.”

The success of the program isn’t just obvious to teachers and park district staff but to parents and Batavia School District 101 administrators, as well. During the first 100 days, Schmit has received accolades and compliments about the teachers and the program.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the enrichment staff. They have done a remarkable job in the classroom, and I hear about it every week,” Schmit said. “With each visit to the classroom, I observe students that are enthusiastic and happy to be where they are!”

For information about the Batavia Park District’s Kindergarten Enrichment Program, visit www.bataviaparks.org or call 630-406-5282.

• Kari Miller is director of marketing and public relations for the Batavia Park District. Contact her at editorial@kcchronicle.com.

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