Upcoming kindergartener David Enriquez, 5, busts a move along side Aaliyah Brooks, 11, with P.E. teacher Maureen Kallatsa and Samantha Gruman, 9, during a kindergarten registration day at Sycamore Elementary School in Sugar Hill Thursday. Sycamore Elementary welcomed students and their parents with a “kindergarten rocks” theme, as children had the chance to dance along to songs on YouTube while their parents enrolled them in kindergarten. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)
SUGAR HILL — As she hugged close to her mother, Caroline Walton had one word to describe starting kindergarten: Unusual.
Her mother, Becky, reassured her that staying in pre-school forever with her little brother would be just plain silly.
As they moved from station to station on Thursday at Sycamore Elementary, Becky Walton breathed a sigh of relief.
“Being able to see the school and the great people sets me at ease,” Becky said.
There were plenty of leg-huggers at Sycamore for kindergarten registration — the class of 2027 — as they came in the front door. But as they reached the cafeteria, they saw physical education teacher Maureen Kallatsa in cowboy boots, wearing face paint and showing off her best dance moves to a variety of songs and videos on YouTube. The idea behind the “kindergarten rocks” theme was to keep the new students occupied and entertained while their parents filled out paperwork.
“We want their first experience here to be exciting,” Kallatsa said. “Our school does a lot of activities and this is sort of an introduction to it. It’s funny, some of them stand to the side, but then start jumping and get excited about it.”
Teachers and staff wore shirts with words that describe kindergarteners, such as friends, authors, historians, researchers, speakers and readers.
“We want to exemplify what kindergarten looks like and how it feels,” Principal Crystal Cooper Thompson said. “We want our kids to feel very excited, and the theme runs through the school today.”
For the students and their parents, the milestone event that is kindergarten registration was met with a range of emotions, from nervousness to anxiousness. At Sycamore, they expected 107 students to enroll for the start of the school year on Aug. 5.
“They grow up so fast,” said Ana Anaosorio, who registered her son David, and also has a daughter in fifth-grade at Sycamore. “I’m happy that my baby’s coming. Time flies, because he used to be a baby when I would come here and now he’s coming here. He said he’s growing and that he’s a big boy now.”
Dianna Moncada said her daughter, also named Dianna, was nervous but excited.
“She wants to come with her brother,” Moncada said of the second-grader.