Li­brary in­vites kids to ‘Hop on the Bus’

Over 20 stu­dents take trip to school

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU jan­fen­son-comeau@somd­news.com

Chil­dren be­gin­ning pre-kin­der­garten and kin­der­garten this year got a pre­view Thurs­day morn­ing of what it will be like to ride a bus to school, cour­tesy of the Charles County Pub­lic Li­brary’s La Plata branch.

“You might be won­der­ing what’s go­ing on, you’re not at home with mom, you’re with a bunch of new peo­ple and you’re learn­ing stuff. You might feel a lit­tle in­tim­i­dated. Hope­fully this will help,” said Don­nie Storms, chil­dren’s su­per­vi­sor for the li­brary, ad­dress­ing chil­dren just be­fore they got on a school bus — many for the first time in their lives.

This was the third year the li­brary has hosted “Hop on the Bus,” which be­gan as the brain­child of Sarah Guy, the li­brary’s pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor, Storms said.

“She had the idea of do­ing

this pro­gram, and I had never heard of it done be­fore through a li­brary,” Storms said. “The first year went so well, that ev­ery year af­ter, I’ve said, ‘We’re do­ing that again.’”

More than 20 3- to 5-year-olds at­tended the event, which be­gan in the li­brary’s meet­ing room with Storms read­ing two sto­ries about school buses and go­ing to school: “The Bus for Us” by Suzanne Bloom and “The Kiss­ing Hand” by Au­drey Penn.

Af­ter the sto­ries, chil­dren and par­ents filed out to climb onto a yel­low school bus and take a trip to Mary H. Mat­ula El­e­men­tary School.

At the school, stu­dents prac­ticed lin­ing up and get­ting off and on the bus be­fore re­turn­ing to the li­brary.

For many of the chil­dren, it was their first time rid­ing a school bus. Kasey Hin­ton said she wasn’t ready for her 5-year-old son Billy to start kin­der­garten.

“I’m try­ing to pre­tend, for his sake, but I’m so not ready,” Hin­ton said.

For his part, Billy said he was ex­cited to be start­ing kin­der­garten. Asked what he was most look­ing for­ward to, Billy said, “the toys.”

Michelle Di­et­rich said her daugh­ter, Kylie, 4, will be start­ing pre-kin­der­garten in the fall. It was her first time on a school bus.

“I’m try­ing to get her ex­posed to the buses, to get used to them,” Di­et­rich said.

Storms said he hopes the event will help chil­dren with any fears or anx­i­eties they may have about rid­ing a school bus or start­ing a new school.

“The school bus is a big, loud, in­tim­i­dat­ing thing if you’re not pre­pared for it, so we try to bridge that gap and help them to un­der­stand that just be­cause they’re do­ing some­thing new and dif­fer­ent, doesn’t mean that they need to be scared, that it’s an ab­so­lutely nor­mal thing to do. So we like to give them that ex­pe­ri­ence be­fore the ac­tual ex­pe­ri­ence,” Storms said.

In the fu­ture, Storms said he hopes the pro­gram can be ex­panded to in­clude vis­it­ing a class­room in­side a school.

Chil­dren, par­ents and fam­ily mem­bers line up at the La Plata branch li­brary to take a trip to Mary H. Mat­ula El­e­men­tary School as part of the li­brary’s “Hop on the Bus” pro­gram Thurs­day. STAFF PHO­TOS BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU

Par­ents and fam­ily mem­bers help chil­dren prac­tice lin­ing up at Mary H. Mat­ula El­e­men­tary School as part of the La Plata branch li­brary’s “Hop on the Bus” pro­gram Thurs­day morn­ing.

Don­nie Storms, La Plata branch li­brary’s chil­dren’s su­per­vi­sor, reads sto­ries to chil­dren be­fore the ar­rival of a bus to take them to Mary H. Mat­ula El­e­men­tary School, as part of the li­brary’s “Hop on the Bus” pro­gram Thurs­day morn­ing.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU

Chil­dren, par­ents and fam­ily mem­bers dis­em­bark at the La Plata branch li­brary fol­low­ing the li­brary’s “Hop on the Bus” pro­gram Thurs­day morn­ing.

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