Kindergartners at most Washoe County elementary schools began classes Monday. For some, it’s their first time in a formal education setting, and they struggled to say goodbye to their parents.
For those who went to preschool or daycare, they were okay sending their parents packing. Nevertheless, such students will still need to adjust to “big kid school.”
“It’s a fun time,” Superintendent Traci Davis said. “The road to graduation starts in kindergarten.”
Lea Anderson, Jesse Hall Elementary School principal, estimated between 60 and 70 percent of incoming kindergarteners there had attended preschool. But there’s nothing like the first day in a new school.
“It’s so exciting and so fun for us,” Anderson said. “We want it to be super special and we spend a lot of time getting ready.”
Mary Ellen Arrascada, Bud Beasley Elementary School principal, described the first day of kindergarten as a “hard day but a good day.”
“You have a range of students,” Arrascada said. “Some have been in preschool and some have never been in preschool. Some have older siblings and they’re used to coming up to the school. Parents are just as scared as the kids for that first day.”
School started districtwide on Aug. 7 but kindergarteners last week underwent screenings, which consisted of meetings with their teachers.
As of Monday, the school district had 4,557 kindergarteners enrolled, but numbers could increase as Incline and Natchez elementary schools, along with Marvin Picollo School, start Aug. 21. Some students at Alice Smith, Double Diamond and Spanish Springs elementary schools are on the year-round calendar start in September.
This is the third year the school district has offered free full-day kindergarten classes in all its schools. The district instituted this schedule in the 2015-16 school year, one year earlier than mandated by the state.