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Bears come to class to help with lessons

ROME TOWNSHIP — Before these Teddy Bears got to go on a picnic, they had to go through their paces at the Teddy Bears Olympics Tuesday morning at Fairland East Elementary School.

This warm and fuzzy version of the more competitive games is a decade-long tradition at the school used by the kindergarten teachers to reinforce their teaching to the youngsters of the letter “B.”

There were relay races, Teddy Bear tosses and a parachute free-for-all during the morning.

“This gives them physical activity and something to associate with the letter “B,” Cheri Hutchison, a Fairland East teacher, said. “Anytime you associate something with a letter, it just helps them retain that. We have a lot of activities through the years, but this is a big event. They love it.”

Bears showed up in all shapes, sizes and colors — brown bears, purple bears and bears in every variations of the shade of pink. And for those households that were bare of bears, Tigger, a dog as red but only half the size of Clifford and a purple pig seemed quite happy to sub.

All day long Brailey Arthur toted around a raspberry bear almost as big as she was that she dubbed Brooklyn on the spot in honor of her sister.

“This gets them involved instead of sitting all day,” Abbie Pannell, assistant principal at Fairland East, said. “The kids like it because they are new to kindergarten. They are all excited carrying their Teddy Bears off the bus.”

One of the relay races captivated Evan Miller, who found he had a special affinity for a particular game.

“I like when you walk sideways ‘cause it was easy,” he said.

And Kaitlyn Fleming didn’t in the least mind sharing her day with these furry friends.

“We get to do fun stuff with them,” she said.