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Roosevelt Elementary teacher Becky Olson, left, assists Kalli Anders with a project Tuesday as students in Olson's class celebrate their 100th day of school. Students began the school year at the former Lincoln Elementary School, moving to their new classrooms 34 days ago. An open house will be held Saturday to celebrate Roosevelt's new kindergarten wing. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

Roosevelt Elementary celebrates new K rooms with an open house Saturday

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news Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

The kindergarteners at Roosevelt Elementary celebrated their 100th day in school this week. That day also marked the 34th day in their new classrooms.

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The Roosevelt kindergarten classes started in the fall at the former Lincoln Elementary School while the new Roosevelt kindergarten wing was finished.

Roosevelt will celebrate the opening of the new kindergarten wing with a public open house and a Dad's Belgian Waffles feed from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. The cost for the breakfast is $6 for adults, $5 for students, and free for children 5 and younger.

Proceeds from the breakfast will be used to purchase books targeted to a child's reading level in order to enhance reading instruction at the school.

The event is sponsored by the PTSA.

The students and their teachers began 2010 in their new rooms, after their teachers dealt with a flurry of moving boxes and furniture just before the holiday break.

After some initial reorganizing and adjusting, "we're settled in now," said teacher Jen Otto on Tuesday, as she and colleague Becky Olson reminisced on the 100th day.

It took a few days to get into the routine of being in a larger building and to adjust to the new classrooms in January, said Olson. The seven sections of kindergarten had been alone in Lincoln, which closed for good when they moved out.

Both teachers praised Principal Patti Dols and Dean of Students Nathan Cox for helping with the transition and handling early glitches with good humor. The kindergarten teachers "had to adjust our way of doing things" when they moved to a different building, Otto said.

While they liked the feeling of having a building to themselves, they still have that feeling with the separate wing at Roosevelt, Otto said.

They have enjoyed being around the rest of the staff and seeing former students in the halls. "It's nice to be a part of that again," Otto added.

Olson worried a little about how the students would make the move, but they seemed to adjust quickly. It helped that they still had the same teachers and classmates, she said, and many of them are excited to see older siblings or neighbors in the hallways.

"The time has gone so fast since we've been here," Olson said. "It must mean it's gone well."

The students have grown so much in their first 100 days, the teachers said.

"I think about where these little people were at the beginning of the year," Otto said. "They're so much more confident."

They listed some of the things the students have learned. They can count by 2s, 5s and 10s, read little books and add and subtract.

The children's social growth, particularly in their all-day, everyday kindergarten program, is also remarkable, they said.

The students have learned how to make friends, and they have "a little community" in the classroom, Olson said.

Olson is in her first year of teaching kindergarten after being an English Language Learner teacher. Otto is in her fourth year of teaching kindergarten after being a pre-school and Title I teacher. Both said they love their kindergarten jobs.

"They really do approach each day with excitement," Otto said. Olson added, "And they're so honest about everything."

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