A time to learn

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Al Key/DRC
Aimee Crane, a representative of Communities in Schools, works with 3-year-old Cooper Gonzalez during Toddler Time at the Borman Elementary School library in Denton on Wednesday morning.

For 30 minutes a week, Borman Elementary School is opening its doors to toddlers and their parents.

The Toddler Time program introduces children who are not enrolled in a school or child care to the school environment, fine arts and early literacy activities. School officials said the program is open to anyone who wants to attend.

Borman offered its first Toddler Time last week, and the program will be offered at 9 a.m. every Wednesday through Dec. 12.

Principal Robert Gonzalez said he’d noticed a lot of 3-year-olds accompanying their parents to drop off their older siblings at school in the mornings.

“Parents always tell me they’re ready for school,” he said of the preschoolers. “We wanted to do something as a school to support that, even if it’s one time a week.

“I want them to just explore.”

Gonzalez said Toddler Time provides young children an idea of what school might look like when they’re eligible to attend.

It’s also a way of “warming them up and getting use to being around other students” and comfortable with school, he said.

“We want to make sure the kids leave with some kind of skills with how schools work … following directions, waiting your turn,” Gonzalez said.

On Wednesday, participants enjoyed music and readings of Seven Blind Mice in English and Spanish, which included lessons about numbers and colors. They participated in a thumbprint art activity and could take home their results.

Mary Ewing attended Toddler Time on Wednesday with her 3-year-old son, Kode. She said via a translator that she liked the program and enjoyed that Kode was learning. Ewing said she intends to bring her son back for future Toddler Time events.

“It’s a very good idea to help the kids learn more before they go into pre-kindergarten,” she said.

Gonzalez himself is the father of a 3-year-old. Toddler Time was an opportunity for him to see his son, Cooper, interact with other children, and he said it made him proud.

“It’s a good way to start introducing him and others to their campus before they’re eligible,” Gonzalez said. “It brings a sense of community.”

Educators want to see children start kindergarten with a lot of early literacy experience, Gonzalez said, and at Borman they attempt to help students along through the school’s pre-kindergarten program.

Toddler Time is another avenue that begins to educate students through activities, but it also educates parents, he said.

“The payoff is when we get these kindergartners two years down the road,” Gonzalez said. “They will be better prepared for school.”

Numbers were small for the first Toddler Time, and a group of pre-kindergarten students was brought in to interact with Toddler Time attendees. However, as word gets outGonzalez said he hopes attendance will increase.

“We’re just trying to grow the program,” he said. “Everything begins small. We just need to get it started and it will grow.”

BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876. Her e-mail address is btabor@dentonrc.com .


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