T. Clay Wood ES staff greets Kindergartners with popsicles, books and supply kits

T. Clay Wood Elementary School hosted their annual "Booksicles" event just prior to school beginning to welcome the newest students to school. Principal Dr. Andrew Buchheit and the kindergarten teachers were at the event, holding up signs and waving to the students as they pulled up to meet their teachers and see the school from their vehicles. Each student received a copy of "The Kissing Hand" to keep, a popsicle, and their Timberwolf toolkit. The toolkit contained a dry erase board, magnet letters, counters, dice, name tag, journal, letter cards, and more.

Despite initial apprehension over whether to hold the event, Dr. Buchheit said the kindergarten teachers asked him to move forward with the event. When asked why it was important to hold "Booksicles" this year, kindergarten chair Amy Crane answered, "Making connections and building positive memories is even more important this year than ever. Since we will not be meeting students face to face, this is a way for them to see kindergarten teachers in person and start building connections, before the first day of school."

Kindergarten chair Stacie Mulholland shared, "Although it was different, we truly enjoyed waving and trying to make connections with kindergarten families at our drive through "Booksicles" event. We hope it will help build relationships with our students and families."

Buchheit started the "Booksicles" event three years ago to build community and create connections between the students, their families, and teachers before the start of school. In past years, Buchheit would read a story to students, introduce them to their kindergarten teachers, and help them check out their first book from the school library. Afterward, students would head out to the playground, and teachers would give each student a popsicle, hence the creation of the word "Booksicles."

The book chosen for kindergarten students this year, "The Kissing Hand," by Audrey Penn, is a story about a young raccoon who is worried about starting school. His mother tells him a family secret for when he misses home, gives him a kiss on the paw, and tells him to hold his paw to his cheek when he needs reassurance. Much like the story, the staff at T. Clay Wood Elementary found a creative solution to alleviate first day of school jitters and help families feel more connected to school staff in a time of virtual learning.