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Prairie Elementary welcomes incoming kindergarteners with smiles, books and fun

Parents brought their little ones to Kindergarten Round-Up for registration and a sneak peek of the school on Monday.

A family picks up information and treats before taking the Kindergarten Round-Up orientation tour at Prairie Elementary in Worthington Monday.
A family picks up information and treats before taking the Kindergarten Round-Up orientation tour at Prairie Elementary in Worthington Monday.
Tim Middagh / The Globe
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WORTHINGTON — Scores of tiny people arrived at Prairie Elementary for the first time Monday, some chattering happily, some desperate to run and play and some shyly clutching their parents’ hands — and all of them were registering for kindergarten.

“They are excited,” said Lori Bristow, one of the 12 kindergarten teachers shepherding parents and little ones through kindergarten round-up.

Vylit Tun-Smith, 5, of Worthington, smiles during Kindergarten Round-Up Monday at Prairie Elementary, where she and her mother, Thein Tun, received stickers to mark their progress.
Vylit Tun-Smith, 5, of Worthington, smiles during Kindergarten Round-Up Monday at Prairie Elementary, where she and her mother, Thein Tun, received stickers to mark their progress.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, last year’s registration event took place outdoors, much later in the spring, said Principal Heidi Meyer, but this year’s event maintained the open-house model. Parents stayed with their prospective students and went to each table in the gym, gathering information as well as books, resources, activities and amusements together.

“This is a good way to have it, it’s more of an open house... I think they feel more comfortable. I know they do,” said Bristow, noting that there hadn’t been any crying at all during the morning session.

Family takes a photo of their future kindergarten student during Kindergarten Round-Up at Prairie Elementary in Worthington Monday morning.
A family takes a photo of their future kindergarten student during Kindergarten Round-Up at Prairie Elementary in Worthington Monday morning.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

Students checking in received a little tote bag with some paperwork, as well as fruit snacks, smelly stickers, Play-Doh and a book. Parents spoke with a school nurse for information about immunization requirements, and got a “Welcome to Kindergarten” checklist and a sheet of stickers, so that each station could be marked with a shiny star.

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Kids could get another book and a Spanish-language coloring book at the Head Start station, along with a make-at-home beaded bracelet craft. At another station, they received a bottle of water, a “Kindergarten Here I Come” book and the opportunity to choose a colored vial of bubble solution.

A sign points the way to Kindergarten Round-Up at Prairie Elementary in Worthington Monday morning.
A sign points the way to Kindergarten Round-Up at Prairie Elementary in Worthington Monday morning.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

Little Vylit Tun-Smith, 5, of Worthington, opted for a purple one, as one of the teachers said “Welcome to kindergarten, we’re glad you’re here!” She was accompanied by her mother, Thein Tun, on her trip around the gym.

When their tiny totes were full, students had their pictures taken under a balloon arch shaped like a rainbow with sparkles at its end, and parents could snap their future kindergartener’s picture on a school bus too.

Parents who couldn’t attend the Round-Up event may still drop off their registration materials at Prairie Elementary during office hours.

READ MORE FROM KARI LUCIN

A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

Email: klucin@dglobe.com
Phone: (507) 376-7319
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