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MPNS students gather under the big top for annual circus

Come one, come all! The circus is in town.

Or at least what resembled a circus was gathered Friday at the Marcellus Parent Nursery School in Marcellus. At 10:30 a.m. students dressed as clowns, elephants, lions, monkeys and more were led into the auditorium by ringmaster Eli Ritter as part of the annual circus.

"The way we like to teach them is with themes," said teacher Sue Benjamin.

Benjamin, also the school's director, joined the staff about one year ago. Previously, she spent 30 years in the Marcellus Central School District as a kindergarten teacher. She said the various themes the classes work on help with learning words called "sight words."

With the circus being in town, children learned words like "big top" and "big cats," which are what the large tent a circus is performed under and the lions and tigers are called, respectively. The also have learned that "circus" means "circle" and recited the lesson loudly for parents to hear as they sat in a circle surrounding the main stage.

"They love dressing up," said teacher Charlene Welsh.

Even with all the fun things planned out for the kids, the teachers still have to work hard to play hard. That includes rounding up more animals -- or enrolling new students -- for the upcoming school year.

"We're really trying to get our afternoon class built up," Welsh said.

Nursery school is a way for children to interact with one another before venturing off to bigger classes in the Marcellus Central School District and helps to acclimate children to a learning environment. According to Welsh, the nursery school is fortunate to have Benjamin on staff because she has the teaching experience behind her, which helps get children more ready as she knows how the classroom experience is structured.

For children already attending the morning kindergarten classes, parents can enroll them at Marcellus Parent Nursery School for afternoon sessions a few times a week.

To enroll a child in the school, application forms can be found on the MPNS Web site, mpns.marcellusny.com or call the school at 673-1187. Monthly rates are $70 for children in the Tuesday/Thursday class and $90 for those in the Monday/Wednesday/Friday class.

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