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GEMS kids get a ‘Jump Start’ on kindergarten

GEMS kindergarten teacher Mrs. Micha Campbell works with a Jump Start kindergarten on his letter “W.”

Photo by Lorie Palmer
GEMS kindergarten teacher Mrs. Micha Campbell works with a Jump Start kindergarten on his letter “W.”

— Starting kindergarten at Grangeville Elementary Middle School (GEMS) this fall will be a little easier for 28 students – and some teachers, too.

Thanks to a three-week long Jump Start Kindergarten program implemented by GEMS principal Dr. Susan Anderson, a group of local students had the opportunity to “test drive” kindergarten.

“It’s been wonderful for these kids to be able to come in and see how kindergarten works,” explained Mrs. Micha Campbell, who will teach kindergarten this fall and last year taught a K-1 multiage class.

“These kids get to work on letter recognition, writing their names, looking at books quietly and even eating lunch at the school,” she added.

Mrs. Teresa Gorges, who is in her 11th year of teaching, previously at Kamiah and for the past two years at GEMS, said they also get the chance to learn to stand in a line and play at recess and learn the playground rules.

The children – who were admitted at no cost on a first-come, first served basis – spent the past three weeks at school from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., each weekday.


Khaleesi spends time working on the letter “W” in preparation for the start of kindergarten this fall.

“It’s been a really good chance for them to see how things work, and to ease that ‘first day’ anxiety,” Campbell said. “Now, they can also help other new students feel more welcome and less anxious.”

Gorges will be looping this year – a first at Grangeville. This means she taught a solid kindergarten class last year and will have those same students as a first-grade teacher.

“I’m really excited, but my main goal is that it is a positive experience for the students,” she explained. “I want what is best for them all the way around.”

Children were busy last week learning rhymes, coloring and writing letters, singing and becoming comfortable in a classroom setting.

Dr. Anderson wrote two grants to help pay for the program, one of which was denied. Hope is for the second to go through.

“We still felt the program was important enough to do it,” Campbell emphasized.

The classes have children with mixed abilities and ages and there are those who have never been in preschool and those who have. All plan to enter kindergarten at GEMS this fall.


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