Pre-kindergarten students at Pomeroy Elementary have adjusted quickly to the extra time spent in school.
By JOCELYN NICHOLS
Pasadena ISD Communications
On the first day of school, the tiniest of tots among the students at Pomeroy Elementary sensed that something wasn't normal. The school day didn't seem to end. Not yet old enough to tell time, a few seemed to wonder if time was standing still.
"They were a little restless the first day," said Cheryl Wilson, part of the Pre-Kindergarten teaching staff at Pomeroy. "Then they got used to it."
Actually, they adjusted very quickly. For many Pre-K students at Pomeroy this year, the school day doesn't end - or begin - around lunchtime. Last fall Pomeroy became the first school in Pasadena ISD to offer a full-time Pre-K
Pomeroy tots are getting their very first experience of what an eight-hour day feels like for most adults. Except they still get naps.
Pre-K students start class at 7:05 a.m. and head home at 3:05 p.m. -- five hours longer than the previous Pre-K schedule. Pomeroy has added more Pre-K classes this school year, and now offers both part-time and full-time bilingual classes as well as a traditional full- time class.
And all of it for students still a year removed from a regular kindergarten class.
"Having our Pre-K students in school longer promotes early childhood development since they have more classroom time to absorb information," Pomeroy Principal Ruth Rabago said.
"Next year we hope to add a parent component to the program so parents can spend time with their children at the end of the day. We plan to offer learning workshops to our parents as well."
Already regarded as a major success, Pomeroy's Pre-K program is at full capacity with more than 40 students enrolled.
"My son is so excited," said Mary Jane Ramirez, the mother of a Pomeroy Pre-K student. "He loves to get up and go to school now. Before, he wanted to be able to go to school like his siblings."
"The longer classes are more convenient and my son is learning more," said Belladira Dominguez, another Pomeroy Pre-K parent and also the coordinator of Pomeroy's Community in Schools program.
"He's saying more words and he knows how to add and subtract, he's going to be ready for kindergarten." The all-day program focuses on teaching students the alphabet, sounds, colors, shapes, vocabulary, numbers and social skills. Students are given evaluations every 12 weeks to track their progress.
"Without the full-time Pre-K program," Rabago said, "most of the students would be at home and miss out on the opportunity to learn more."
The full- time bilingual class started in August and is funded by a three year TIPS grant. The other class was approved by the Board in November and started later that month.
Teachers keep students engaged by using Elmo equipment, a visual projector that makes reading books easier and Promethean boards that accommodate interactive learning.
"I make sure that the students have an active role in the learning process," says Lucy Garza, a Pomeroy Pre-K teacher. "It really helps them when they can visualize things."
With the help of some patient teachers and parents, Pomeroy's Class of 2024 is off to a good start. Of course, the naps help, too.