The school year may be winding down in a few months, but area officials are already making plans for rising kindergarteners that will enter the school system in the fall. This Thursday, you can register your child(ren) during Kindergarten Registration Day. Here’s what you need to know.
Who is eligible?
Children who are or will be five years old by September 30th, 2017 can start kindergarten in the fall, but first they need to be registered. Thursday, April 20th is the day for on-time registration for children in area school districts.
What localities are participating?
The cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Petersburg, and Richmond, as well as the counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, King William, New Kent, Powhatan and Prince George.
What do I need to bring?
There is quite a bit of paperwork needed to register a child for kindergarten, and pulling everything together takes time. Parents and caregivers are still encouraged to attend registration even if they do not have all the documents because exceptions could apply. These are the documents needed for registration:
- Child’s official, certified birth certificate
- Two proofs of address (like a utility bill or tax record)
- School Entrance Health Form (This can be turned in any time before the first day of school)
- Photo ID of parent or legal guardian
Why so early?
While registration rates have improved over the years, more than 4,000 children were not registered on time in the spring last year. That’s enough kids to fill about eight elementary schools. This obviously presents a problem for school officials as they try to gauge enrollment numbers and hire appropriate staff. Early registration allows time for teachers to be hired and for them to prepare for new students, and for adequate learning materials to be acquired.
“Our goal is to help more parents understand what it means for their child to be ready for kindergarten, and how they can help them at home,” said Rich Schultz, Executive Director of Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond.
Where can I learn more?
For more information about kindergarten registration and what to bring on April 20th, parents can visit www.SmartBeginningsRVA.org or dial the phone number “2-1-1” and find information specific to their school division. 2-1-1 connects to trained professionals who provide free information on available health and human services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
How can I help prepare my child?
While we’re on the subject, there are a lot of great ways you can help your child get ahead of the game before they enter kindergarten. These tips are especially useful if your child isn’t yet old enough to enter into the school system this year. In the Richmond region, about 1 in 8 children enter kindergarten already behind in language and literacy skills, according to Schultz. “Children start learning as soon as they are born,” he continued. “Every day, there are teachable moments that parents can use to prepare their child to be ready for school.”
The organization recommends some or all of the following activities to help your child(ren) succeed:
- Read and look at books every day
- Stick to a regular bedtime and wakeup time
- Practice counting real objects (like cereal or crayons)
- Talk about their feelings and what kindergarten will be like
- Meet and play with other children their age
- Show respect and use good manners
- Find and name letters of the alphabet everywhere you go
- Visit and explore libraries, parks and museums
- Use scissors to practice cutting and crayons to draw