RACINE — The Southern Local School District has set dates for kindergarten and preschool registration in the elementary wing of the Southern campus.
Kindergarten registration is Wednesday and Thursday, April 12 and 13. Preschool registration is slated Monday and Tuesday, April 10 and 11. Registration runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Two weeks prior to registration, parents can call the school office at 740-949-4222 to schedule an appointment. Head Start will also do their screenings on this date.
Parents will need to bring their child’s birth certificate, Social Security card and shot records to the school. Parents must have verification of residency, parent picture identification, and if applicable, custody papers. The child must be present for screening and accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
Parents can make plans now to have immunizations in place by the date of registration. The Southern Wellness Center can do much of what is required for the wellness checks.
Previously, public preschool served 3- and 4-year old children, however, last year state guidelines changed. Only 4-year old children can be served in the public setting such as the one at Southern.
“If there are any 4-year-olds out there,” Principal Tricia McNickle said, “we need them to sign up. We need 40 kids to fund a unit.”
Traditionally, it has been a struggle to fill a unit and keep it full even while accepting 3-year-olds. This past year was the first year for just 4-year-olds. Kindergarten students must turn 5 before Aug. 1 and preschool kids must turn 4 before Aug. 1, 2017.
Parents with children in Southern Local that have 3-year-olds can still apply for pre-school services in a private setting; or if they qualify, attend Head Start if openings are available and income factors are met. Head Start is an all-day program, Kindergarten is all-day, and Southern preschool a half day experience.
Research shows that educating children prior to age 5 maximizes their academic experience. “If you know of any 4-year old children, please pass along this message,” McNickle concluded.
Children must be 4 years of age by the district’s kindergarten age cutoff date of Aug. 1, and not eligible for kindergarten. One exception: Children with special needs who are kindergarten age may attend an early childhood education program if the child’s Individualized Education Plan requires it.
Kids start developing communication skills from the moment they’re born. Newborns quickly begin to recognize important sounds in their environment, such as their parents’ voices. As they grow, babies start recognizing the sounds that form language, such as the way syllables, words, and sentences work.
The first three years of a child’s life are the most critical for speech and language development because the brain is best able to absorb language during this period. That’s why it’s important to talk, listen, read, sing, and play games with young children and help teach important language skills that will last a lifetime. Research has shown that 90 percent of a child’s brain develops in the first five years of life.