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Tot Time Draws Good Attendance
Tot Time staff members, Joye Thompson and Kathryn Tellez, start prepping the room first thing Monday morning to get it ready for the youngsters that will soon be joining them.

Offered through the City of Riverbank Recreation Department, the city's Tot Time program is staged at the Riverbank Scout Hall and has just started a new session. It is a preschool-style program that is available for children ages three to five that have been potty trained. The program runs three days a week, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon, with several sessions offered throughout the year. Parents are asked to send a healthy snack with their children each day, but have the kids keep their personal toys at home.

Tellez and Thompson greet the students and they start the day out with free play after their parents check them in. The kids enjoy several different activities like games on the computer, coloring, painting, singing songs, crafts, story time, and creating with Play-Doh. They also have an energetic activity early on in the day called 'Circle Time,' which consists of getting all the students in a circle and "getting rid of the sillies," according to Tellez, where they stretch and engage in a game of Hokey Pokey or a similar movement song. The laughter and smiles of the youngsters are contagious as they jump around and sing out loud, feeding off each other's early morning energy. Other activities throughout the morning range from work on the ABC's, counting, learning the days of the week and the months of the year; things they will need to know as they prepare for school.

If the students are really good listeners, their teachers said, then they get to choose a game for the end of the day, like 'Duck, Duck, Goose.' The youngsters also have plenty of opportunity for interaction with each other, learning how to share, work together and develop listening skills.

The activities vary and can change on a daily basis.

"I love working for Tot Time," said Tellez. "I wish the program was five days a week instead of three."

The Tot Time class members will be singing 'Jingle Bells' at the Old Time Christmas at the Plaza event on Wednesday, Dec. 12 in the city's Plaza Del Rio at Third and Santa Fe streets, around 6 p.m.