Kindergartner buddies celebrate Mother’s Day

May 10, 2011

By Laura Geggel

Sunset Elementary School fifth-grader Claire Imai-Takemura helps her kindergarten buddy, Ella Rosenkrans, decorate a flower vase with tissue paper. By Laura Geggel

Mothers of Sunset Elementary School kindergartners were floored by crafts at the Mother’s Day Tea, May 5.

The presents — tissue flowers in decorated vases, placemats covered in flowers and colorful picture frames — were made under the supervision of the kindergartners’ fifth-grade buddies.

“The kindergartners just adore their buddies,” kindergarten teacher Jan Townsend said. “The first time we do it, they are just in awe of them.”

Soon, the awe turns into avid fandom. Sometimes, the two grade levels connect and start chatting outside of school.

“So many positives come out in the children,” fifth-grade teacher Cookie Riutta said. “They just love the opportunity.”

As the kings and queens of the school, many fifth-graders cannot remember being so young, and Riutta often hears her students cooing over their pint-sized buddies, calling them “so little” and “so cute.”

“They feel so wise and mature,” Riutta said, watching her students direct the kindergartners at the different art stations.

Fifth-grader Elena Chow helped her kindergarten buddy Alaiya Garcia create her placemat.

“I really like little kids because they’re so cute and fun to play with,” Chow said. “And, my buddy’s really awesome.”

There was even a lesson to be learned — kindergartner Daytona Crow named the shapes she was using to create her flower design, a hexagon and a trapezoid.

Townsend has taught kindergarten for 19 years, and 13 of them have included lesson plans with the school’s fifth-grade buddies.

Some of her kindergarten students later become buddies when they reach fifth grade.

“It’s fun for them to come back and be the helper, instead of the helpee,” Townsend said.

Since their initial visit last fall, the buddies have watched Disney’s “Robin Hood” together, played together at recess, read books to one another and completed art projects.

“It’s pretty fun,” fifth-grader Will Farmer said. “We’ve made a lot of projects.”

Many of the fifth-graders have younger siblings they are used to helping, but not everyone was accustomed to working with children.

“I’m the youngest in my family, so I was a little nervous,” fifth-grader Luke Riley said.

Now, he feels just fine. And, as his classmate Adrian Whalley said, “It makes us feel tall.”

During the Mother’s Day Tea, children’s drama specialist Howard McOmber entertained mothers and children alike with songs, including “What a Wonderful World.”

“The tea went off beautifully,” Townsend said. “The mothers had tears in their eyes throughout the whole presentation.”

Laura Geggel: 392-6434, ext. 241, or Comment at

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One Response to “Kindergartner buddies celebrate Mother’s Day”

  1. Robert J Williams on May 12th, 2011 10:40 am

    Oh to be a kid again!!

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