The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

July 31, 2013

Jefferson youngsters prepare for first day of kindergarten

By STACY MILLBERG - smillberg@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — A group of youngsters are learning everything they need to know before starting kindergarten in a few weeks.

The Jefferson Community Recreation Center is hosting its annual Safety Town program this week for children about to enter kindergarten.

Children participating in the program are taught important elements of safety they should know as they prepare to begin school. Tuesday the new students learned about bus safety.

“They are taught how to stop on the side of the road and wait for the bus driver to signal for them to cross and board the bus,” said Allison Brown, director of JCRC.

The children got to take a ride on a bus during the program. The bus picked them up at Jefferson Community Park and took them to Jefferson Elementary School where they were able to meet Principal Todd Tulino and tour the school.

“This is the first time some of them have ever stepped foot on a bus,” she said.

The group had a chance to walk the halls of the school and look through a classroom as well as play on the playground, run in the gymnasium and get a look at the cafeteria.

During the rest of the week, the children will learn about police and fire safety as well as water safety.

Police Chief David Wassie will help the children make photo identification cards with their fingerprints. In past years the children have even been invited to take rides in police cars, Brown said.

The children will tour the fire station and learn about fire safety as well as tour Jefferson Emergency Rescue District.

Brown said the program teaches the kids to be comfortable asking police and firefighters for help if they need it.

“Safety Town used to be where kids would ride bikes and stop at houses and stop signs but now it’s so much more,” she said. “It’s really a great program and I encourage any kid going into kindergarten to do it. It’s almost a must.

Brown said this year only about 40 kids are attending the program, which is the smallest group the center has ever seen.