Parents’ and kids’ nerves assuaged as Horizon enters 2014-15 year - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

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Parents’ and kids’ nerves assuaged as Horizon enters 2014-15 year

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Posted: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 11:18 am

Monday morning was, not surprisingly, quite a busy one at Horizon Community Learning Center as parents and children bustled about on the first day of the 2014-15 school year.

Classes didn’t begin until 8 a.m., but parents arrived at the school 15 minutes early to ensure that their child was early for their first day back.

Horizon Executive Director Betsy Fera greeted new and old families near the school’s crosswalk as they ventured onto the school grounds.

Crowds of new families at Horizon gathered near the kindergarten classes to walk their child into their classrooms.

Once parents and students were inside, parents sat with their child for a brief moment to familiarize them with a classroom setting,

Many of the students adjusted well to their new surroundings, but some students had a hard time letting go of their parents.

Teachers assisted students who were having difficulty saying bye to mom or dad by talking to them, asking them questions and giving them a little time for themselves.

Parents were invited into the school’s multipurpose room to attend Kinder Talk, an program designed for new Horizon parents where they could learn about what the school offers from volunteer opportunities to upcoming school events.

It also gave administrators a chance to welcome parents to the school and reassure them about choosing Horizon for their child’s education.

Mona Volden, the school’s parent partnership director, spoke to parents about how to get involved with their child’s educational experience in and out of the classroom.

“There’s so many different things that parents can do to help here at the school,” she said. “We truly believe here at Horizon that it sends a very important message to our students that their school is important and they’re important. That means a whole lot here at Horizon.”

Parents of kindergartners also heard from seasoned parents, who have been through the gauntlet of their child’s first day at Horizon.

Horizon’s elementary principal, Laura Wanstreet, welcomed incoming families and explained that the staff at the school was a support system for parents.

After Kinder Talk, parents seemed more at ease and mingled with one another.

Matt Holm said the session eased his nerves about his daughter’s first day of kindergarten from getting her to school on time to knowing where drop-off zones were located.

“My daughter has been really looking forward to going to school, and I’m excited for her,” he said. “I’m a stay-at-home dad, so it’s going to be great to volunteer, get involved, hang out with her and get to know the school a little bit better.”

For more information about Horizon, visit

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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