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Sixth graders team up with preschoolers at Maplewood
Sixth graders team up with preschoolers at Maplewood
Posted on 04/26/2017
Sixth graders team up with preschoolers at Maplewood

It is a win-win partnership in Karen Duggan’s class at Maplewood every Tuesday morning. Her preschool students are getting some extra help preparing for kindergarten while sixth graders from Carol Randolph’s class are learning leadership and how to inspire students academically.

And they are all making new friends.

The sixth grade buddy program partners the students together once a week where the older students help preschoolers practice academic tasks based on the theme of the month. This month the theme is bugs and blossoms. The work includes letter and number identification, colors, counting, cutting, writing, puzzles, games, sorting, and other tasks.

Maplewood students
Each month the sixth graders get to choose a new preschooler to work with. The sixth grade buddies begin working with students in October and it runs through June.

Sixth grader Kendra Weed said she enjoys helping students learn to write their first name. “It’s fun to play with little kids. They are so cute and it’s fun to help them learn,” she added. Whittany Roundtree, also a sixth grader, said she likes working with the preschool students because it helps them get ready for kindergarten. 

The program was started three years ago by Duggan and sixth grade teacher Carol Randolph and has been going strong ever since. 

“There are so many benefits that the preschoolers get. They work one-on-one with academics and building relationships with bigger kids. The learning takes place in a fun environment with someone they look up to. One of my favorite benefits is when the sixth graders see them outside of class and my students treat them like celebrities.”  — Preschool Teacher Karen Duggan

Maplewood Principal Susan Walton and Duggan also see benefits to the sixth graders. They get to take a leadership role and make a difference in the preschoolers’ lives. They also learn how to work with students who might learn differently from them. “Sixth graders learn what leadership looks like, feels like, and sounds like. The skills and talents they develop will carry them far in life and simply put, make our world a better place. Furthermore, the sixth graders understand the important role older kids play in terms of role models,” said Walton. 

Maplewood Elementary

Preschoolers get the chance to feel like they are part of Maplewood and experience the importance of making positive relationships. “They learn to trust the big kids and view them as advocates, not scary older kids,” said Walton.

The students will celebrate together on the last Tuesday of the school year with an ice cream party.  


Nancy French