First lessons

Class begins at Riverside Early Learning Center

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Lexy Lawler reacts to her favorite part of the story Wednesday morning during story time at Riverside Early Learning Center on their first day of school for the year.

Thursday was a day of first lessons for the students starting the very first day of their educational journey at Riverside Early Learning Center.

Amber Murray asked her students part way through the morning what they had learned so far.

“What do we do with our ears?” she asked.

“Listen,” they replied.

“What do we do with our hands?”

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Riverside Early Leaning Center teacher Amber Murray helps Ezra Wilson

“Keep them to yourself,” they replied.

“What kind of feet do we have?”

“Walking feet.”

“That’s right,” she said. “Inside, we have to use our walking feet.”

There were also some activities.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Riverside Early Leaning Center teacher Amber Murray rushes a tissue to one of her students during lunch Wednesday morning.

“We made hats,” Murray said. “We also drew a picture of ourselves.”

There were also a few lessons that might not be in the curriculum. One student walked away from the sink after washing his hands.

“If you’re done washing your hands, you can turn it off,” she reminded him.

Leaving the classroom to walk to lunch offered a whole new set of things to learn.

“We’re going on the black line,” she said. “We need our zero voices.”

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Riverside Early Learning Center teacher Amber Murray, right, helps Ezra Wilson with his lunch tray Wednesday morning as his classmate, Aubrianna Feeley, contempletes whether or not to get the carrots.

A lot of the first few days of school, she said, is getting her students used to having a routine again after a summer during which many of them may not have had one.

In addition, a lot of what is taught includes such basic life skills as sharing, taking turns, respecting others and being a good listener.

“We focus a lot on social development,” she said. “Things like respect and keeping safe.”

Other things, ABC and one through 10, come later.

There’s another important lesson for the students, she said, some of whom might be a little shy.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Nora Froisland concentrates on getting the straw into her juice container Wednesday on her first day of school at Riverside Early Learning Center.

“Making friends.”

Even going to have lunch is a new experience for the students. There’s a line to learn to stand in, a selection of food to put on a tray, perhaps a packed lunch to open up from home, a proper place for the tray after eating and, for a couple of the students, a new challenge.

“Let me help you open that,” Murray said as she showed one student how to open their milk carton. “There’s a little trick to it.”

Once she got her whole class seated, everyone’s milk open and made sure they were all actually eating, one student sneezed.

“You need a tissue?” she asked.

After he nodded yes, Murray got up and got him one. Then sat down and tried to get a few bites of her own sandwich eaten before the next sneeze or very important question.

She didn’t expect to finish it.

“Probably not today,” she said. “Once we get into a routine, I will.”

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