County gears up for Kindergarten registration

Published 9:04 pm Thursday, March 19, 2015

EASTERN ELEMENTARY KINDERGARTEN: Elementary schools across Beaufort County are preparing for Kindergarten registration. Pictured are Kindergarten students at Eastern Elementary School.

KINDERGARTEN: Elementary schools across Beaufort County are preparing for Kindergarten registration. Pictured are Kindergarten students at Eastern Elementary School.

In preparation for the 2015 fall semester, Beaufort County Schools is gearing up to host several Kindergarten registration sessions.

Elementary schools in the BCS system will host several dates and times in which parents and guardians can come to gain knowledge about the ins and outs of Kindergarten registration. Among the schools and their respective dates set up for registration are: Bath Elementary School — March 18, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and March 19, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Chocowinity Primary School — April 14 and April 15, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Eastern Elementary School, which will host registration March 24-26, April 28-29 and May 20, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Northeast Elementary School — April 14 and April 15, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Snowden Elementary School — April 22, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and April 23, noon to 5 p.m.

BCS recently issued a flier with requirements for the 2015-2016 school year. A student must be five years old on or before Aug. 31, 2015 to enroll in Kindergarten for the upcoming school year. To register a child for Kindergarten, parents and guardians must bring the following items to the scheduled event for the school they will attend: the child being screened for Kindergarten, proof of residency, certified copy of enrolling child’s birth certificate or immunization records available from a local health department or family pediatrician. For proof of residency, any two of the following items will be accepted: signed lease agreement, rental receipt, utility bill, current listing on income tax form or proof of home ownership. A Kindergarten health assessment will be available at registration, and a comprehensive eye exam is recommended but no required for enrollment, the flier said.

“Kindergarten is an exciting time, especially for parents who are sending students to school for the first time. Our teachers and administrators are here to help make the transition as smooth as possible,” said Dr. Don Phipps, BCS superintendent. “There was a time where Kindergarten was seen as a version of babysitting. That day has long past. There are tremendous amounts of learning that go on that first year of school. Everything from social skills to beginning academics and even technology come into focus during the Kindergarten year. We welcome our newest students and hope that the excitement that comes with the first day of school in kindergarten will remain for each school year through graduation.”

Eastern Elementary Principal Melissa Dana said the registration dates are set up in order for each school to get a feel of how many students there will be in the next class of students. This number dictates the number of teachers available to teach Kindergarten students. For registration, each student is given a screening to see what he or she has been exposed to and how much he or she knows.

“(The screening) gives you an idea of what the kids’ experience is,” Dana said. “They really need to know simple ways they can start preparing their child. No age is too early to start learning.”

Dana said a copy of the screening is given to each student’s parents so they can work with their children over the summer. Many parents, however, are surprised to see just how much academics are involved in the first year of a student’s schooling, said Jennifer Walker, a Kindergarten teacher at Eastern.

“If you’re not living the academic teacher life, you don’t know what Kindergarten holds,” Walker said. “The rigor has changed. We still have some of the fluff stuff, but people have the outdoor perception. A lot more structure and academics have taken the forefront.”

On May 19, Eastern Elementary will host Kindergarten Readiness Night, a time where parents can become better educated about everything involved in their child starting school. Among some of the things to think about when having a child start school include academics, transportation to school, Parent/Teacher Association and other issues. The event is, more or less, a way to alert parents to some of these issues and answer their questions, as well as helping parents troubleshoot problems they may have, Dana said.

“You have to make family changes when you first start coming to school,” Dana said. “WE encourage parents to come out during registration because it gives them a leg up. We’ll register all during the summer, too. Even if you have a child that’s coming next year, you’re still invited to come. There’s a lot you can start doing with your child that can prepare them for Kindergarten. It’s a great opportunity for parents to start making connections with the school and understand what they need to make their child’s school year a success.”

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