Ring Elementary School fourth grader Lindsey Spitz helped kindergartner Ariel Collazo play a counting game during a recent Big Brother/Big Sister Mentor session. The girls talked about school and Lindsey guided Ariel with the best way to count during the game.
“I love doing the kindergarten mentoring,” said Lindsey. “It is so much fun and you really get to know your partner. When Ariel sees me in the hallway she always runs up and gives me a big hug. I like helping her learn new things.”
“I like playing games with Lindsey,” said Ariel. “It is fun.”
Ring Elementary School kindergarten and fourth grade teachers teamed up and created the Big Brother/Big Sister Club as a way to enhance math skills, while building positive social and emotional connections amongst some of the oldest and youngest children in the building. This initiative was created as part of Ring school wide Professional Learning Communities approach to promoting positive relationships between all children, regardless of which grade they are in. The 4th grade students were selected based on their performance on the NYS 3rd grade Math Assessment and placed with a kindergarten partner. Teachers hope that new bonds will be created and academic skills will be strengthened.
The Big Brother/Big Sister Club meets every other day for 30 minutes each session. The pairing remain the same in order to foster the social skills and relationship side of the learning. The pairs play different board games and math games chosen to enhance different math skills, teach turn-taking and other social skills, and encourage conversation regarding how to follow rules while playing games.
“We are counting on the 4th grade students to take the lead and model appropriate behavior and social skills to our kindergarten students,” said Ring Elementary School kindergarten teacher Jennifer Goshgarian. “Our hope is that the new club will help the kindergarten children feel like they have a peer they can look up to and the fourth grade students to see that they are an important part of the school and can make a difference in other people’s lives, while learning at the same time. We feel it builds community and respect between the 4th graders and kindergarten students.”