Give 'em something to talk about

By Anna Yee

September 19, 2012 Updated Sep 19, 2012 at 6:32 PM CDT

BARTONVILLE, Ill. -- Fun for these two Monroe Grade School kindergarten teachers comes in the form of homework.

Mary Beth Klinedinst and Kristine Barnhart want to improve their students' home to school connection.

"Research shows over and over and over again any connection you can make with parents and the children makes more of a sense of a community, team building," said Barnhart, "that way we kind of are all working together for the benefit of the children."

Barnhart, a kindergarten teacher for almost 30 years, and Klinedinst will use the grant to put together "homework bags" filled with books, math games, and other hands-on activities the kindergartners will tackle with the help of their parents.

Mrs. Klinedinst says it's a learning experience for them, too.

"Kindergarten has definitely changed," said Klinedinst, "and so, helping parents understand we are reading in kindergarten, we are doing more advanced math, helping the parents see that and understand that so they can help their children at home to meet with what we're doing in school."

The teachers say these lessons will stack up in the long run, becoming more challenging as the year progresses.

"They (students) will be adders. They will be subtractors," said Barnhart. "They will be well versed in a higher vocabulary. It's just going to be a great assist. I'm really excited."