Comstock Park — Stoney Creek kindergarten teacher Arianne Greenlee has a special volunteer in her classroom — her mom.
Roseanne Betlej has been helping in her daughter’s classroom off and on since 2011, two to three days per week, a few hours at a time. Greenlee said the students are always excited when she explains that “Mrs. Betlej” is her mother. Betlej is greeted by the kids with excitement and hugs, and they’re enthusiastic when it’s their turn to work with her.
“Kindergarten is busy and there is much to learn and do,” Greenlee said. Some children need extra time, she explained, so her mom works with kids individually or in small groups on skills like counting, identifying letters and sounds, reading sight words and decodable books. Betlej also enjoys helping students make crafts.
“I retired quite a few years ago,” Betlej said. “I enjoy doing this. It keeps me busy.”
Sticker Books Help Make Words Stick
One job that keeps her busy is being the overseer of stickers.
“One of our goals in kindergarten is to read 50 sight words,” Greenlee said. To help students reach that goal and encourage home involvement, they bring home sight-word sticker books. Students practice learning 10 lists of words at home and bring their books back to school on Monday.
“My mom sits with the kids, one at a time, and every time they can read a new word, my mom adds a sticker to the book,” Greenlee said. The students earn prizes for increasing the number of sight words they can read.
“It is a time-consuming process to check sight-words sticker books, and I am so thankful that my mom has taken on this job,” Greenlee said.
Betlej said she takes her cues from her daughter’s teaching style and tries not to interrupt. Greenlee describes her teaching style as structured and firm yet nurturing.
“I try to make learning hands-on and fun,” Greenlee said. “My mom has picked up on my expectations and the way that I talk to and interact with my students, and she follows suit.”
Betlej is impressed by how much kindergartners learn compared to bygone days.
“I’m amazed about how they respond to Arianne,” she said, adding, “I’m extremely prejudiced but I think she’s a fabulous teacher.”