Home Lifestyle PHOTOS: Discovery Place Kids preps Richmond County kids for kindergarten

PHOTOS: Discovery Place Kids preps Richmond County kids for kindergarten

Willow Sweet, 5, of Hamlet, decorates a face to demonstrate feelings during the Countdown to Kindergarten event at Discovery Place Kids-Rockingham. See more photos below. Photos by William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Kids about to start school for the first time next week got a jump start at Discovery Place Kids’ Countdown to Kindergarten.

According to Director Angela Watkins, a retired educator, 130 people — rising students and their families — walked through the museum’s doors for the three-hour drop-in event Tuesday evening.

There were also 46 volunteers on-hand to help out.

Watkins said it was the largest crowd since she became director in 2021.

Teachers from each of Richmond County’s elementary schools had tables set up in the downstairs area of the building. There was also a representative from FirstHealth demonstrating car seat safety and updating parents on the current laws.

At one craft station, the soon-to-be kindergarteners learned about feelings — particularly those associated with the first day of school — and decorated faces with crayons and eye stickers.

Jose Hernandez, 5, of Hamlet, changes a tire on the racing exhibit. He will be starting school at L.J. Bell Elementary.

The free event also allowed the kids free reign around the exhibits — from the kitchen set to the veterinarian’s office to the racing corner, and all the others.

Shirley Pemberton sat on a nearby bench while her grandson, 5-year-old Aiden Gatewood, played with the train set.


Although they live in Hamlet, Pemberton said her grandson will be starting school at West Rockingham Elementary.

Aiden Gatewood, 5, of Hamlet, plays with the train set at Discovery Place Kids-Rockingham.

Pemberton said Aiden has been diagnosed on the Autism spectrum and loves trains, adding that she often brings him to the museum to explore. She added that he was nonverbal when he was younger, but has improved since going to Sandhills Center.

“This is pretty awesome,” Pemberton said. “This is the best thing to happen to Rockingham. We need more places for children to go and play … inside …to release some of that energy.”

Each visitor and volunteer received a coupon for Kona Ice, which was set up out front.

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Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.