August 17, 2008

‘Buchanan Elementary to Host Helping Hands Preschool

By Cathy Benson [email protected]

Buchanan Elementary will host the second Virginia Preschool Initiative in the county beginning this fall -- Helping Hands Preschool. The VPI preschool program is a matching set of state and school division funds to start preschools in needed areas of the state and the first Helping Hands preschool in Botetourt at Eagle Rock Elementary is entering its third year of operation.

Principal Debbie Garrett remarked, "We do not have a preschool in Buchanan proper. This will mean so much to our school and the area."

The shelves are filled with hands-on activities, manipulatives and other materials to stimulate the 12 preschoolers (age 4) that will attend the school this fall. Different centers for learning and colorful rugs will divide the areas for children to explore, learn and sit for stories and other activities. Garrett refers to them as the fine motor center, dramatic play center, art center, science center, small group instruction and so forth.

Parental interaction is strongly encouraged throughout the year, said Garrett. "They want their children to be successful."

Could there be cuter than the tiny, primary colored student chairs that surround a small table? How about the alphabet puppets that sit at the edge of the reading rug? They are bright and happy tools to be used to get ready for kindergarten next year. The walls will soon fill with brightly colored learning materials before school begins on August 20.

"Our preschool teacher is Lisa Sutphin and our aide is Amy Whiting," said Garrett.

Garrett and Sutphin have gone to Eagle Rock for observation and extensive questions and answers on the program there which the VDOE has used as a successful site for others to study. "We are so very excited to have the program here and we hope to duplicate the program in Eagle Rock."

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