And according to those at Morehouse kindergarten, they have no idea what they're missing.
"I like the teachers," said Madalyn Chidester about the kindergarten. "They're nice and they do fun work and stuff. We went on neat field trips. My favorite was going to the apple orchard. What I remember most about kindergarten are my friends and my teacher, Mrs. Lowe," said the 9-year-old, now a third-grader.
What many people also aren't aware of, said Jeff Williams, is that Morehouse kindergarten is part of Sikeston Public Schools and follows the same curriculum adopted for the entire school system. The principal reasoned it is often assumed all kindergartens attend the larger Sikeston Kindergarten Center.
Some consider Morehouse kindergarten one of the R-6 School District's best kept secrets, offering a unique situation not available in all districts.
"Our students identify with the entire K-5 elementary school," Williams explained. "They come into contact with the older students at various times during the day. We allow some of our upper grade students who are positive role models to work with these children. The children grow familiar with the older students and the teachers, therefore are comfortable when entering first grade because they don't have to change schools."
Another bonus is having only two kindergarten rooms with a total of 32 students which enables the kindergartners to get to know everyone their age.
In addition to the town itself, the Morehouse Elementary attendance area includes Ridgeview, Westview, Colony, Tanner, Salcedo, the rural area west of Sikeston and parts of the city of Sikeston. Children must be age 5 before Aug. 1 to enroll in Morehouse kindergarten.
Character education is a big focus at Morehouse for both kindergartners and the other students, emphasizing to the youngsters the importance of traits such as respect, self-esteem, cooperation and responsibility. The teachers teach and review skills that will help them be successful first graders.
Kindergarten is important, pointed out Williams, as it builds the foundation for the child's academic success and feeling toward learning.
"When our kindergarten students are promoted to first grade, we want them to take with them the social skills that they learned," said Pam Lowe, kindergarten teacher. "We also want them to take the basic skills such as letter recognition, number recognition, vocabulary recognition, the ability to count to 50, to write their first and last name and read simple sentences."
But just as important, she and Williams stressed, is parental involvement. "When a child is a kindergarten student this is an excellent time to involve the parent," Williams said. "We stress to the parent that the education that their child receives is a team effort, it takes the home and the school working together to help the student reach their potential. We encourage good communication between parent and teacher. I believe this foundation being established in kindergarten can be a huge benefit for that student throughout their elementary years."
Those interested in seeing what Morehouse Kindergarten has to offer are invited to attend the school's open house at 6:30 p.m. April 30.
For more information contact Morehouse Elementary at 667-5011.