TAMPA – There was no reason to wear a tie. Most 5-year-olds don’t place ties at the top of their fashion list.
Jonathan Delacruz is different. Like the other kids who attend kindergarten at Westchase Elementary School, he is excited to be at school. Unlike his fellow students, however, he wore a tie because he is serious about getting his education off to a real start.
For now, the kids at Westchase are getting used to taking buses to school, doing homework and learning to read and write.
“I can’t wait to learn to read,” said Alyssa Galang, who wants to grow up to be a dentist. It was the sixth day of kindergarten for her and her friends. “It was a little bit scary and I was shy, but I like kindergarten.”
Lisa Tuero is one of the kindergarten teachers at Westchase. She makes sure the kids are in class and leads the kids through stations where they learn different things throughout the day.
“The kids advance quickly through kindergarten,” Tuero said. “We make sure they have fun while they are learning.”
Jonathan said he was never scared when he started kindergarten last week. A very talkative and articulate kid, Jonathan said he wants to be a “tree-cutter downer.” In other words, he wants to be a person who cuts down trees in case of emergencies to keep houses from “getting smashed.”
Two minutes later he changed his mind. He said he wanted to grow trees, but he also explained the process from planting the seeds to helping trees grow.
The kids at Westchase have already started math, reading and science experiments. In science, they are learning about measuring cups, heating water on a stove and using a thermostat to measure the temperature. When asked if they knew how to read yet, several of the Westchase kids ran around the library to show off books they have already read.
Christina Milcetich said she was scared when she got on the bus for the first time.
“There were a lot of people on there and it was scary, but it was really nice,” said Christina, who wants to be a baker when she grows up. She said she knows how to make every kid’s favorite meal, mac and cheese. “Once I got off the bus I wasn’t scared anymore.”
Ty Serra likes the science part of the school. He wants to be a scuba diver when he grows up. “I want to go all the way into the water to find different creatures,” Ty said. “I want to learn all about them in kindergarten.”
Jonathan has it all figured out, even though he has been in kindergarten for less than two weeks.
“I like learning and growing up,” Jonathan said off the record, then saying that it was OK to go on the record. “I love kindergarten.”