New kindergarten teacher prepares for students on Monday

RENO, NV (KOLO) Stephanie Cresta puts the finishing touches on her kindergarten classroom.

Look around you'll see numbers, colors, letters, these are all things her students must learn before they get to first grade.

And in one way Stephanie will be learning right along with them, that's because this is her first year as a kindergarten teacher.

“I always wanted to teach kindergarten, and my first step was preschool,” says Cresta.

Cresta says she taught pre-school for years.

She had an Associate’s Degree in early childhood development and was content where she was.

“And then my daughters went to kindergarten, and their teacher was like do you have your credentials for a kindergarten teacher?” says Cresta. “And I was like no. And she was like you need to go back to school,” she says.

A UNR Education grad in the class of 2019, she was interviewed at Smithridge Elementary School and thought it would be a good match.

She says she went to Pintrest for ideas, and much of her materials were given to her by other kindergarten teachers.

She has her work cut out for her. The district does test kindergarteners.

There's much ground to cover by the end of the school year.

“They need to be able to count to 100. And they need to know 30 sight words,” she says.

But it doesn’t stop there.

“They need to know the letters of the alphabet upper and lower case. And they need to know the sounds that the letters make,” says Cresta.

She's apprehensive, excited, and taxed and at the same time. But she says she knows this is where she needs to be.

“It is a big deal for me. Because what they learn here is the foundation for every other grade that they are going to be in,” she says

All this week kindergarteners are being tested to see what they do and don’t know when it comes to letters, sounds, colors and numbers.

They’ll be divided up equally among the kindergarten teachers on Monday.