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Rotterdam residents gear up for full-day Kindergarten

Andriola said that he is trying to calm Justin's nerves with lots of reassurance and encouragement.

"Obviously it will be a little intimidating for a child that young, but I think that between parents and the teachers, they're going to make it as comfortable as they can for these kids," said Andriola. "As parents, it's a change for us too, and we all have to figure it out together."

Hayden McGarry, 5, will be entering kindergarten this year at Jefferson Elementary School, which is part of the Schalmont Central School District. He said he's looking forward to the move.

"[I'm] excited about everything " yes," said McGarry.

His mother, Debbie McGarry, said that she thinks having more time for instruction will be beneficial.

"I'm a stay-at-home mom, so to have him go full-day and have him learn more and have more interaction with children is better than, 'I'm getting on the bus, going to school, turning around and coming home,'" said McGarry.

She said that with the half-day program it seemed like by the time the kids got to school it was practically time to go home.

Diane McIver, principal of Bradt Elementary School, said that the program has "been a long time coming."

"We are absolutely thrilled and excited beyond belief to be starting with full-day kindergarten," said McIver.

She said that the teachers in her school have spent a lot of time working on their classrooms and spent the second half of the year revising their curriculum maps and planning calendars to reflect all that they can do with a full-day program.

"We're having a ball getting the classrooms ready and putting together the kitchens and dramatic play areas, and the teachers have been very involved in ordering what we needed," said McIver.

Sara Fenton is making two transitions this year " first she is starting in a new school district, second, she is going to be teaching full-day kindergarten at Bradt, as opposed to half-day kindergarten, for the first time. She can't wait to have more contact time with her students.

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