Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

July 30, 2013

It’s all new to them

Kindergartners attend orientation camp to learn rules and procedures

Mike James
The Independent

LLOYD — Everything about school is new for kindergartners, even the buses.

The iconic yellow vehicles with their high steps and wide seats are as familiar to older folks as ruled tablets and No. 2 pencils, but 5-year-olds see them as exotic coaches.

With the first day of school just around the corner, kindergartners are attending kindercamp, orientation days to learn everyday rules and procedures, and on Monday at Greysbranch Elementary, that included a short ride on the bus.

Peggy Hutchinson, a driver/trainer for the Greenup County School District, led the children to the bus where teachers and aides helped them climb on and take seats.

She tooted the emergency horn to demonstrate what they’d hear in the event of a calamity and explained proper bus deportment — no eating, no hitting, quiet talking, feet on the floor. A spot check revealed most of the children weren’t quite capable of following the last rule.

Children mainly need drilling on safety, Hutchinson said following the ride. Some of them have ridden on smaller preschool buses, but for many it’s part of a big new world they’re getting to know.

So they need to know where to stand while waiting for the bus (10 giant steps away from the road), when to get to the bus stop (five minutes before the scheduled pickup), what to do upon exiting (walk around the crossing arm in front of the bus) and what to say when the bus approaches a railroad crossing (nothing — the driver needs to listen for approaching trains).

Their orientation ride took them twice across the CSX tracks where they practiced their hushing skills, then they circled back to Greysbranch for a playground session before dismissing.

A day invested in kindercamp is a day that ensures the rest of the year will run smoothly, kindergarten teacher Mitzi Lanning said. At their age, they need help with even simple routines, such as using restrooms and walking the hallways in line.

“It usually takes a couple of weeks to get the routines down, and then it flows after that,” she said.

School starts in Greenup on Aug. 8.