NORTH SMITHFIELD, R.I. (WPRI) — Even though Wednesday is the first day of school for North Smithfield, the town’s elementary school students have been preparing since the beginning of the month.

That’s because North Smithfield Elementary School launched a program this summer designed to help make kids feel comfortable and relaxed heading into the new school year prior to stepping foot in their new classrooms.

Before teachers began setting up their classrooms and putting together their lesson plans, they took turns sharing videos of themselves reading bedtime stories, which were then sent to their prospective students.

The result was exactly what Assistant Principal Tracy Lafreniere was hoping for.

“One thing we’ve been trying to do is really ease our kids back into the transition from summer,” Lafreniere explained. “The more joy we can bring back to learning and being in school, the better.”

“It helps with our attendance, it helps with our relationships and it really just helps set the foundation for success,” she continued.

Incoming 2nd-grader Everly Lopes tells 12 News the bedtime stories have made her excited to return to the classroom.

“It makes [the students] feel like they’re going to a safe, comfortable environment,” her mother Meagan Lopes said. “They have something to look forward to.”

Meagan said she hopes the bedtime stories will continue throughout the school year.

“Just to bring the joy of reading into their schooling as well,” she suggested.

Lafreniere said it’s a possibility that’s already being considered.

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