Jackie Holmes has a goal for the upcoming school year.
She plans to have at least 180 happy faces, one for each day of the school year for her students.
Holmes is a kindergarten teacher at Newberry Elementary and was excitedly celebrating the beginning of another school year for her kindergartners.
Countdown to Kindergarten is the name of the program and something that Holmes has been involved with since its inception nine years ago. Throughout the summer, Holmes visits the students and their families five times to help out with reading and literacy.
The sixth visit is the countdown celebration that was held Thursday and allowed parents to visit their children’s classroom, teachers and the principal.
The celebration was like an additional open house especially for those in Holmes’ class.
Holmes also had plenty of informational packets and magazines to hand out to parents including bits of advice such as putting names on the inside of the backpack, practicing reading and writing every day and she also added that she is available for parents whenever needed.
Holmes points out the 10 students in her countdown program will be able to help out the new kindergartners who did not attend Countdown to Kindergarten.
Holmes calls these students her “junior mentors.”
“I’m excited about this year,” exclaims Holmes, as she is every year.
Holmes loves her children and while she sacrificed her summer, it’s worth it.
“It’s a good educational investment,” she says and she says that the children in the Countdown to Kindergarten get a head start and she gets to know them even better.
Countdown to Kindergarten is a First Steps program and the S.C. First Steps Coordinator Betsy Marshall says that students who attend Countdown to Kindergarten have better attendance and more success.
In fact, one of Holmes’ students, Serenity Richburg is already fluent in reading and reading on a first grade level, according to Holmes.
However, during the countdown, Holmes had plenty of students eager to answer questions and participating.
Excitement was all over the classroom and as Holmes stated, there are no more naps. It’s work all day, but there will still be plenty of fun.
For more information about Countdown to Kindergarten, visit www.scfirststeps.org/countdowntok.htm. There is even a testimony from Holmes about her experience with the countdown program.