Preschoolers participate in activities designed by charter school students |

Preschoolers participate in activities designed by charter school students

Learning with the Olympics

Jack Weinstein

— Pulled in a sled across the playground at North Routt Community Charter School, preschoolers Sara Johnson, Zakkary Leftwich and Weston Boese beamed, huge smiles across their tiny faces.

And then they fell out of the sled.

No matter. They climbed back in and continued ahead, pulled by charter school seventh-grader Teagann Yeager and fifth-graders Luke Jankoski and Will Anderson.

Sara, 4, Zakkary, 4, and Weston, 5, were a few of the 10 North Routt Preschool students who participated in several Olympic-themed activities Wednesday morning at the charter school. The infants and toddlers who make up the rest of the 25- to 30-student school stayed behind.

Kathy Regan, who teaches the preschool's weekly physical education classes, said it was the last week of the students' Olympic unit, which began in early February.

"We thought it would be a fun idea to do a culminating activity with the big kids," she said. "They like the big kids, and a lot of them will go to school here. It helps get them comfortable."

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Charter school sixth- through eighth-graders designed activities as part of their Olympic unit, physical education and outdoors teacher Lori Raper said.

For the preschoolers, Raper said the charter school students prepared different Olympic-themed activities, including curling, dog sledding (which Sara, Zakkary and Weston were doing), luge, limbo, long jump and even biathlon — where students were pulled on a sled and threw balls through hoops set up on a course.

As part of the charter school's Olympic unit, which continues for two more weeks, Raper said all students chose a country they would represent, designed an activity and wrote papers about the experience.

She said Wednesday's event with the preschool promoted camaraderie between the schools.

"I think it's great, the interaction with the older kids," said North Routt Preschool parent Kira Reynolds, who was on hand to watch her twin 2-year-old daughters, Ellie and Eva, participate in the activities with the charter school students. "They know some of them. They think it's great to see them."

Eighth-grader Todd Man­ewal said it was fun having the preschoolers at the charter school because the younger kids look up to them.

Seventh-grader Delainie Gonsoir said she loved it because they don't often get to spend time with the preschoolers.

"They're just so cute," she said. "They're just so small. They get so attached."

Raper said the Olympic unit continued the charter school's emphasis on outdoor education. That's a good thing for the next generation of students who will attend the school.

"I like to play outside," Sara Johnson said.