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Look back

Jennifer Smith and her 5-year-old daughter, Catie, walk to Family-Oriented Structured Preschool Activities class at A.J. Smith Elementary School in Cayuga.

May 19, 1994

CAYUGA — The first day of school is usually a frightening experience for many children.

Jennifer Smith remembers her son, Thomas, was scared to death. He wouldn't get on the bus and he started crying.

"But once he saw Amelia, he was fine," said Smith. "They had desks next to each other and palled around for the rest of the year."

Thomas and Amelia had met a year earlier in a program at Union Springs schools that acquaints kindergarten-bound children and their parents with a typical day in school.

Called the Family-Oriented Structured Preschool Activities (FOSPA) program, the 15-week session helps children develop confidence, socialize with other peers and prepare them for their first step into school.

Also held in Auburn, Port Byron and Jordan-Elbridge schools, the program creates an environment for children and their parents to learn together and about each other.

After all, co-coordinator Meta Riester points out, "The parents are their first teachers."

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— Compiled by David Wilcox

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