RALEIGH — Jason Fennah and Logan Windle, both 5 years old, grabbed their white lunch trays -- "Both hands!" mothers reminded as the milk cartons almost toppled over -- and headed for the lines of tables.
"Do you want to sit next to me?" Jason asked, sparking a round of "awws" from the moms.
"Oh, that's so cute," exclaimed Jason's mother, Jessica Roesener.
"I'm really going to cry," said Logan's mother, Cassie Windle.
Logan and Jason and hundreds of other rising kindergartners, along with their parents, kicked off kindergarten Sunday at Marbles Kids Museum.
The museum opened up its doors for free with a boot camp of sorts for the new-to-school set. Kids walked through a lunch line, boarded a school bus and got their own library cards. Parents could ask kindergarten teachers and school and health officials some last-minute questions.
In the next few weeks, thousands of Triangle 5- and 6-year-olds will head off to kindergarten. That first trek to school sparks the gamut of emotions -- fear, anxiety, excitement that the last check for day care was written -- perhaps mostly among parents.
Tonya Baldwin has heard much of it. Baldwin is a site coordinator for the eastern regional Ready to Learn Center at Carver Elementary School in Wendell. The program provides support, parent education and kindergarten readiness groups for Wake County families.
Parents often wonder whether their children will be ready for school. "Almost all children do well at school," she said.
Youngsters' curiosity to learn and time spent reading, coloring and drawing help ensure success, she said.
Jason and Logan, who live across the street from each other in Clayton and are headed to Powhatan Elementary School in Johnston County, were more excited about playing at Marbles than practicing their school skills.
Their mothers admitted that the transition likely will be harder on them than their boys.
They wonder whether the boys should be in the same class. They're great friends, they say. But maybe they should get to know other kids, too.
"It seems like yesterday he was a baby," Windle said. "It kind of breaks my heart, but it's a good change."
"I'm going to cry," she said.
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