Pre-school students learn life lessons on Superhero Day

NEW PALESTINE — With masks on their faces and plastic smocks protecting their outfits, they had goo on their arms up to their elbows.

And they liked it.

The youngsters also got to chase a glowing ball through the halls, among other fun things, during Superhero Day at New Palestine Elementary School, where all pre-kindergarten students in the Community School Corp. of Southern Hancock County district attend classes.

On this day, students finished some of their first classroom lessons during a recent special learning day.

Superhero lessons helped the youngsters learn about colors, counting and just how neat school can be.

Many of the students dressed as their favorite superheroes and learned lessons from teachers Rachael Knoop and Denise Miller and technology expert Chris Young.

“We’re doing things to celebrate our superheroes,” Knoop said.

One of the learning centers had children chasing a colored ball through the halls. The children ran when the colored ball went fast, and they jumped up and down when it stopped and began to vibrate.

The ball was operated by Young through an iPad. It was his way of introducing technology to the students at a young age.

“We’re gonna follow the ball, and when it goes slow, we’ll go slow,” Young said to the youngsters.

Knoop said it’s amazing what children are learning at such a young age these days.

“That is the most exciting thing,” Knoop said. “Using technology to implement what we have been learning — that’s what it is all about.”

At another stop, the youngsters worked their senses, searching through goo for toy coins with numbers on them.

Miller said the students were excited to be able to dress like superheroes at school.

“The whole day is how we’re introducing our lesson about community and friendship,” early childhood expert Miller said.

Letting the kids dig into the hard powdery substance that turned to goo when they added water was also a learning experience, she said.

“They’re learning about solids and liquids,” Miller said.

This is the first year the district is housing all pre-kindergarten students in one building, at New Palestine Elementary.

District curriculum director Rhonda Peterson said administrators liked the idea of having all future kindergarten students together instead of spread throughout district elementary schools.

“The collaboration between the teachers is just invaluable,” Peterson said. “They can have time together to plan and develop programs into what we want them to be in the future.”

Peterson said the district’s pre-kindergarten program is growing and is a perfect place for all 4-year-olds.

Peterson said the children work and learn together.

Right now there are three spots at the elementary school set up for pre-kindergarten; but Peterson said the district is still accepting students and may set up a fourth room, if needed.

Kristy Deer is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3262 or