Graduation celebrates kids' path to kindergarten

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)- It's graduation day for preschoolers at Ascent Children's Health Clinic, a clinic in Jonesboro that treats kids with special needs.

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Kids enrolled in the Ascent Health Services Pre-K program got to put on their caps and gowns Friday and make their way across the stage.
"It's been a long journey at pediatric and I'm just excited and at the same time sad about the graduation because my baby is going to kindergarten," said mother, Kendra Dixon.
Dixon said she's glad she decided to enroll her son in this program.  
"They work real well with teaching him how to handle his emotions and transferring it instead of in aggression into a positive manner," she said.

Twenty-eight kids graduated Friday and 25 of those kids will be going into a regular classroom setting.
The pre-school program at Ascent Health Services in Jonesboro helps kids develop their social and academic skills by providing them with a number of services.
"Speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy or behavioral concerns," said clinic director, Amber Powell.
Powell said she has seen positive changes in all of her students.

 "We have a Pre-K curriculum that is designed to help them transition into kindergarten," she said. "  We also have individual therapy that is designed for each child to work on gross motor delays and fine motor delays and any developmental delays they may have."

Dixon said her son received mental and behavior therapy at the clinic. And after completing this program, she knows he is ready for what's next.
"He's really smart. It's a whole new environment, but I'm excited I am pretty sure he will do well," she said.

"What sets this program apart from other programs is that we do have a mental health program available," Powell said. "To help the kids be able to meet any of the issues that they may be having so that they can transition into a regular environment setting and be successful."

Powell said their Pre-K program follows all the standard benchmarks to make sure children who leave their care is able to be on equal footing with other kids.

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She said they will soon be having open enrollment and if any parents are interested they should see their primary care physician.

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