“Let’s get fit, let’s have some fun, let’s count to 100!”

So went the chant of more than 20 kindergarten students at House Creek Elementary on Tuesday as they celebrated the 100th day of school.

To commemorate the event, several teachers and students wore pink, orange, green and yellow tutu skirts and 100 days of fun T-shirts in kaleidoscopic colors.

“Celebrating the 100th day is about learning and growing and counting,” said kindergarten teacher Tonya Sweeny. “It’s busy, but they enjoy the build up to this day, and it’s always so amazing to see their progress over the preceding months.”

The academic premise behind the 100th day is to integrate learning to count with fun activities that encourage young children to explore their environment while applying what they’ve learn in the classroom.

Kids assembled snacks from different buckets, counting in 10 sets of 10. They also painted 100 dots on paper plates in neon greens and blush pinks and explored what they’d buy with $100 — from puppies to cookies to puppets.

“Making these connections with numbers helps them reproduce it in different ways,” said Marcia Merilatt, a first-grade teacher. “When they can take things and apply it in real life that’s where the celebration comes in.”

Merilatt believes integrating technology with academic learning not only makes learning fun but is essential in an age where children are more technically savvy. Hence, she used Age Booth — a smartphone application that ages subjects in photographs.

“I wanted them to really understand what it’s like to be 100 years old so I took each of their pictures and had the application do its magic,” Merilatt said.

Both Merilatt and Sweeny stressed that skills like these give students a solid academic foundation and ready them for first grade.

“These building blocks are vital and ensure that students don’t fall behind when they enter the next grade,” said Sweeny, who has been teaching 12 years. “It’s the bridge for what comes next.”

Kindergarten teacher Lisa Kumpf agreed.

“They’re like sponges, and when the light bulb goes off it’s so much fun to watch. I’ve been teaching for 20 years, and it’s still so rewarding to see how they advance in leaps and bounds at this stage.”

Never mind the learning and academic advancement, the students in teacher Jill Price’s class were only concerned about one thing.

“It’s fun and the best part is we get to eat snacks,” said Jaiden Morris, 6. “I had a cookie in the shape of 100 and it was so much fun.”

Corinne Lincoln-Pinheiro | Herald

A journalist by trade, Corinne has written for both the military and civilian populations. She has a Master's in Writing and Bachelor's in English. She is also a military spouse and her family is currently stationed at Fort Hood.

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