Ashland Kindergartners Drive-Up to Greet Teachers

Some students brought teachers hand-written letters, stories, and smiles

ASHLAND, Wis. – Kindergartners around the Northland are not in school right now because of the coronavirus shutdown, but that didn’t stop Ashland teachers from celebrating National Kindergarten Day with students and parents driving by Lake Superior Elementary School.

A procession of cars was packed with families greeting their favorite kindergarten teachers in-person for the first time in more than a month.

“We just miss them a lot,” said kindergartner Rose.

The kids were all smiles to finally have some fun with people other than their mom, dad, and siblings.

“We thought it was a good opportunity for Macy to see her teacher because she hasn’t seen her in a while and she really misses coming to school everyday,” said Lisa Martinsen, whose daughter, Macy, is in kindergarten.

Some students brought their teachers hand-written letters and the latest stories about their big life events.

“Lots of kids have lost teeth, learn[ed] to ride their bike without training wheels,” explained kindergarten teacher Jenny Gierczic.

She tells us it’s important for younger kids to have this kind of interaction.

“I think five-year-olds are having a hard time understanding why they can’t be with their friends, why they can’t see their teachers, so this just gave us a chance to reassure them that this will be over, they’ll get a chance to see us again and be back here at school having some fun,” she said.

Because of the pandemic, schools have shifted to online, distance learning platforms. It can sometimes be difficult for families to adapt to the new format.

“We’ve had some ups, we’ve had some downs most definitely, but I think we finally got the technology issues figured out, so they’re able to get online and get their assignments done,” said Jane Matthias, whose daughter, Rose, is in kindergarten.

Teachers say they’re keeping the curriculum simple and giving parents ideas about play-based learning they can do from home.

“It’s really fun to connect with kids in a different way, individually and to have some interaction that way, but it’s really hard because you can’t reach as many kids as you would like to,” explained K-5 music teacher Diana Mann.

Lake Superior Elementary plans to hold more drive-by events like this one.

That way, the kids can have as much quality time as possible with their current teachers before they move on to the next grade.

“We miss them and we can’t wait for this to all be over so we can be back together doing what we love doing,” said Gierczic.

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