‘Coffee and Kleenex’ calms anxiety for Heritage’s new parents

"Coffee and Kleenex" at Heritage elementary eased first-day jitters for parents new to the school. (CONTRIBUTED)
“Coffee and Kleenex” at Heritage elementary eased first-day jitters for parents new to the school. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – A few tears and sighs are expected on the first day of school. Families new to Heritage Elementary School received reassurance during ‘Coffee and Kleenex’ on Aug. 5-6.

Heritage staff welcomed families of approximately 150 kindergarten and transferred students for coffee and treats in the media center. Heritage Principal Dr. Georgina Nelson cautioned parents that they might need a Kleenex, too.

Nelson, counselor Demetria Freeman, instructional partner Wendy Pharo and PTA president Melissa Price and board and parent volunteers served breakfast treats and answered questions.

“We wanted to do our ‘Coffee and Kleenex’ event to support our great group of parents on the first day of school,” Pharo said. “Starting kindergarten is such a milestone in a young child’s life. We wanted to celebrate.”

“Kindergarten is such an exciting time for a child. Parents should remain positive and upbeat,” she said.

Parents’ primary concern is their child’s safety when returning home. Heritage has “all procedures in place and ‘all hands on deck’ those first weeks to make sure each student arrives home safely,” Pharo said.

During the first days of school, teachers “get to know their students and create those bonds,” Pharo said. “Teachers go over rules, conduct class meetings, practice procedures and drills and focus mostly on safety.”

Pharo praised Heritage’s five kindergarten teachers for an excellent job in welcoming their students and creating a caring, safe classroom for them to grow.

“Our kindergarten hall is one of the happiest places in the school,” Pharo said. “You always hear singing, laughing and learning when you walk down their hall.”

For the first week, Madison elementaries use a staggered schedule for kindergartners “because this is such a transitional time for them,” Pharo said. Girls attended Aug. 5 and 7, and boys attended Aug. 6 and 8.

Having fewer children per day is much easier for students and teachers while kindergartners are learning numerous procedures and routines, she said.

More than 75 Heritage employees are serving 800-plus students this year.

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