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First-day jitters

Parents and students get set for school

Terry Halifax
Northern News Services

Inuvik (Aug 30/02) - Parents, teachers and students are scrambling to get ready for the first day of school in Inuvik.

Helping kids ease into the structure of school life is child's play to teacher in charge of the Inuvik Preschool Society, Patti Male. Through play in a structured environment, preschool gives children a leg up on learning social skills and playing by the rules.

The first day can often be a little bit unsettling for both parents and the new students.

"It's a nervous time for them," Male said. "They're timid; they don't want to leave mom but they want to come and play with the other kids."

The four-year-olds start on Sept. 4 and the three-year-olds start Sept. 5.

The preschool has four rules: "Walking feet, Sharing hands, Inside voices, Listening ears."

"Those are the only rules we have and the kids are new to rules and getting used to being with others, but that's what preschool is for," she said. "They are in an environment where they can explore, but also interact with their playmates."

Male said the structured environment gives the children the skills expected in "the big school."

"They can already sit and listen and socialize," Male said. "It gives them a head start."

The four-year-olds come for classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday for either morning or afternoon sessions, while the three-year-olds come Tuesdays and Thursday. All classes are two-and-a-half hours.

Male said last year the preschool had 40 children enrolled in the school, but this year it's too early to tell.

"We usually do a pre-registration in June, but we didn't do that this year," Male said.

Three-year-old Lovelle Simon said she was glad to be starting school this fall. Her mom Marina said Lovelle is eager to get started.

"She came here for Buddy Day in March and she's been talking about it ever since," Marina said.

Andrea Danielle Carmichael will be three in September and she is also looking forward to being with the other kids. Her mom Florence said she can't wait to be around people her own size.

"She's very excited," Carmichael said. "The kids, she wants to be with the kids and she sees the playground and all the toys."

"She's very smart and mama is having a hard time keeping her entertained at home," Carmichael said. "I'm glad for programs like this; in other places they can't start until they're five."

Andrea said she needs to attend preschool because of her size.

"I'm going to school because I'm big," she boasts.

Natasha Watters says she's two years old but, "Daddy says I'm three!"

Natasha said she is a little bit nervous about the first day, but thinks she's going to have lots of fun at school.

"I'm going to play all day," she exclaims, but adds she's a little bit apprehensive about leaving mom.

"My mom's gonna be way far away and daddy's gonna be way far away too!"