18 graduate Strong Beginnings program
Four-year-old Laila Mosso recites the Pledge of Allegiance with classmates during the Strong Beginnings graduation ceremony for the APG South (Edgewood) Child Development Center pre-kindergarten program. Eighteen children graduated the program which ran from September to May.

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Clad in bright blue caps and gowns, 18 children in the APG South (Edgewood) Child Development Center were deemed ready for kindergarten during a May 30 Strong Bonds graduation ceremony.

The Army Strong Beginnings Pre-K is a program designed to prepare children to be successful to enter school. Curriculum focuses on the social, emotional, and physical development of children; equips them with basic academics and "Kindergarten Classroom Etiquette" skills to enhance "school readiness."

Led by Strong Beginnings lead instructor Danielle Shriner and Supervisory Program Specialist Charles Novak, and as Pomp and Circumstance played in the background, the little graduates paraded to their seats with tassels bouncing as parents and Family members snapped tons of photos.

Shriner offered her thanks to parents who supported the September-to-May program and summed up her remarks with "appropriate" words from a poem by an unknown author.

"We've watched your children learn and grow and change from day to day.

I hope that all the things we've done have helped in some small way," she said.

Assisting the program was CDC Director Donna Jacobs, Assistant Director Kim Barrett and Training Curriculum Specialist Kathy Mitchell.

Barrett said this is the fourth year of the Army-wide program.

"It's been an absolute success," she said. "It really prepares children for the public school system."

The preparatory curriculum included weekly lessons with Spanish Teacher Sylke Bargsten and Music Teacher Yani Peyton.

Both led the children in songs that demonstrated their new-found talents.

"Every month we had a different theme and they came up with the idea of adding different hand motions to the song," Bargsten said after the performance of the "A Ram Sam Sam" song, popular children's song and game. Peyton then led them in a Spanish song. She said learning a new language can be easy and fun.

"They grasp it very well at this age. They were interested in learning and participated eagerly," she said.

Strong Beginnings starts anew in September for age 4 and 5. The program is available at Aberdeen Proving Ground's three Child Development Centers.

Page last updated Tue June 10th, 2014 at 00:00