Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Sonia John embraces her daughter Rishona, 5, after completing the kindergarten registration at Starling Elementary School in Grayson Thursday.
GRAYSON — Aiden Seber, 4, could hardly get the answers out fast enough.
As he talked with a woman assessing his kindergarten readiness, the boy rocked back and forth in his tiny chair, gripping hard the sides of the plastic seat. He rattled it all off with aplomb: “square, circle, triangle, rectangle.”
All of it kids’ stuff to the whip smart Starling student-in-training.
Young people who will soon attend the elementary school in Grayson and others all over the county showed up Thursday morning for kindergarten registration: an annual occurrence that brings out bevies of moms and dads, most with variations of the same important question: is my kid going to be OK here?
That’s why schools like Starling enlist the help of their best and brightest teachers, counselors and volunteers to ease minds, talking parents and students through the process, which culminates with the first day of the 2013-14 school year: Aug. 7.
Between now and then, school staff from 77 different elementary schools will host day camps and special activities to help children become familiar with their faces as well as encourage them to walk the halls and get the lay of the land.
Kindergarten teacher Donna Lowe fielded questions from mom Alhymna Jones, mother of Peyton, 5. Jones wanted to know how the teachers would help get her son acclimated with bus-loading and unloading procedures.
“I just want to make sure that’s all taken care of,” Jones said.
Lowe said Jones and other parents have nothing to worry about.
“Being a parent myself, I know what it’s like sending a kindergartner to school,” Lowe said. “A lot of them are still just babies. But we take them under our wing here, and we take them to the bus and show them where it is and we practice many times during the first weeks.”
Parents like Jones and teachers like Lowe criss-crossed through the media center at Starling, studying documentation, signing paperwork and learning more about the school district where many of the young ones will spend the next 13 years of their scholastic careers.
At the district level, kindergarten registration takes place before the summer in order to provide time to organize classes and to allow students to participate in activities to get them ready.
At Starling, for instance, parents learned Thursday about a kindergarten day camp July 8-11 where students get to work on activities in their classrooms, talk with teachers and get to know their surroundings.
Principal Donna Ledford said that the elementary school is also holding a “kindergarten round-up” from 9 to 10 a.m. Monday.
Ledford said such activities help make the transition from pre-k to “big school ... as seamless as possible.”
Ledford added that the one-on-one academic assessment sessions Thursday helped educators get a glimpse of each student’s preparation level. Teachers sat with 4- and 5-year-olds asking them to recite their ABCs, count as high as they could and identify different shapes on a worksheet.
Four-year-old Seber, who got quizzed by teacher Lisa O’Neal, seemed to be off to a pretty good start.
As she pointed to a final shape — “oval” — O’Neal congratulated the boy with a high-five.
“Guess what, Aiden?” O’Neal said. “When you get to kindergarten you learn even more shapes.”
The boy’s eyes lit up, followed by a quick fist pump.