From South to Saxe: The final tour
NEW CANAAN — It’s all about the ice cream.
Well, it’s really all about the freedom to pick the ice cream, but fourth-graders from Allison Bartlett’s class at South School seemed particularly interested in their lunchtime options when they start attending Saxe Middle School next year as fifth-graders.
The lunch options, as well as questions about homework and lockers, were discussed as the fourth-graders had a question-and-answer session with Saxe fifth-graders as part of their transition process to the middle school next year.
“It’s the choice,” said Steven Clapp, fifth-grade administrator at Saxe. “We try to give them enough to make good choices.”
The fourth-graders learned about their options and got the answers to other burning questions about middle school, played icebreaker games and toured the school as the third part of their transition process to the fifth grade. The students previously sat through an assembly at their elementary school with Clapp and some fifth-graders, and had the opportunity to attend a pizza night at the school where fifth-graders gave tours.
“The other event (the pizza night) was optional,” Clapp said.
“This gets all the fourth-graders here. This ensures everybody gets the classroom experience, gets them connected with fifth-graders and sees the school in use. It’s gradual.”
The fourth-graders started off the day by walking to Saxe around 10 a.m. and joining a fifth-grade classroom for a period where they played icebreakers. They had to learn the name of a fifth-grader and their summer plans, which they then shared with the group, and line up by birthday without talking. They joined hands and passed a hula hoop around their conjoined circle.
The students then got a chance to ask questions of the fifth-graders, many of them focused on elements of the middle school experience that the fourth-graders do not have at Saxe. The students then got a comprehensive tour of the school. Where the pizza night tour stuck to the fifth-grade hallway, students got a chance to see the art and music classrooms, the library and the gym.
The whole experience left the students feeling confident when they headed back to South an hour-and-a-half later.
“I learned it’s a lot more easier to find your way around,” said fourth-grader Delaney Bennhoff.
Bennhoff, the youngest of three sisters who went through Saxe, was initially concerned about getting lost, as well as having friends in her classes. But the 10-year-old felt reassured, especially after finding out her friends on different teams could be in her “specials” — art, gym, etc. — classes.
Bennhoff said she ended the final tour without a lot of questions left and having enjoyed hanging out with the fifth-graders.
“I liked going inside the art room and the lunch room,” she said, having previously expressed her excitement for the different cafeteria options. “I’m just really excited.”