BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — The Maumee High School Class of 2036 filled the Performing Arts Center at MHS on March 29 and 30 for their kindergarten screenings.
The small children had the chance to meet with their future teachers, principals and other support staff while they prepared for the upcoming school year.
According to Maumee City Schools’ director of teaching and learning Michelle Shafer, when the kids come in for the screenings, they meet with kindergarten teachers for assessments before moving on to other stations, including speech and language and a behavior observation.
According to behavior specialist Nate Bishop, this is the first time a structured play area has been set up for the event to observe the children’s behavior.
“This is the first year we’re doing a play group session,” Bishop said. “The rest of the areas, they assess them one on one, and this is looking at how they interact with other kids in the space as well.”
Bishop watched the children’s behaviors to observe their different play styles, including communicating and sharing with other kids, how long they stay on task and transitioning from the toys back to their parents.
The chance to see how children transitioned from activities and interacted both with adults and students allows the staff to better understand each child’s personality and anticipate their needs in the classroom.
Fort Miami kindergarten teacher Anne Valade said, ultimately, school staff wants to know more about the student as a whole, and each station allows them the chance to do so.
At her station, the assessments involved word manipulations, shapes, colors, letters and more.
“They’ll write their name for us. They get scissors to cut however they want,” Valade said. “We’re just looking for how they hold a pencil, how they hold scissors, how they separate from their adult.”
Staff members took notes when they met with the incoming student and observed them to learn more about the child as a whole.
“We’re asking them to do these things to see if they’re doing it willingly, if they need repeated directions, that sort of thing,” Valade noted. “We’re seeing how they respond and how they interact with us. That’s the big thing, more so than how they’re doing academically. That’s why they come to kindergarten, so they can learn all these things.”
Incoming student Hope Corbett was excited to show off what she knows to the staff, but she’s more excited to actually start kindergarten so she can finally ride the bus with her big sister.
These interactions with the students, from the assessments to the information they share, are all important to providing each child with the best education possible.
“We use all of this information to make sure they are placed really well in their classes in the fall,” Shafer said. “It’s just a beginning of kindergarten assessment. We want to see how they’re doing so far and what support they might need to have the best year they can possibly have.”