Readiness program prepares youth for kindergarten

Photo submitted - Dickinson Center, Inc. staff Rhonda Mosier is shown with Dina Dinosaur. Together the pair presents dinosaur-themed materials and life-size puppets to engage children and strengthen social, emotional, and academic skills. Mosier facilitates Fox Township and Bennetts Valley Elementary school’s Kindergarten Readiness Programs. 
Amy Cherry
Staff Writer

Students and teachers have returned to the classroom for the first time since March as part of the Kindergarten Readiness Program, a partnership between Dickinson Center, Inc. and the St. Marys Area School District.
Nearly 50 students are currently participating in the program underway at South St. Marys Street, Fox Township, and Bennetts Valley Elementary schools. 
New lessons have been incorporated into this year’s program in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects it will have on back-to-school plans. Staff are working to familiarize students with learning how to properly socially distance an wear masks when they cannot maintain that distance. 
“The kids have been awesome and extremely cooperative about it,” said Tana Smith, DCI program director.
They are also learning how to say hello to others without touching, along with proper hand washing and sanitizing. 
“All of that is being incorporated in preparation for going into kindergarten,” Smith noted.