Southern announces pre-school/kindergarten signups

Scott Wolfe - For the Sentinel

RACINE — The Southern Local School District has tentatively set a date for kindergarten and preschool registration in the elementary wing of the Southern campus.

Kindergarten registration will be March 29-3o. Preschool registration is slated for March 31-April 1. Two weeks prior to registration, parents can call the school office to schedule an appointment.

Parents will need to bring their child’s birth certificate, Social Security card and shot records to the school and the child must be present for screening. Parents can make plans now to have immunizations in place by the date of registration.

Changes to Preschool

Previously, public preschool served 3- and 4-year olds, however, this coming year state guidelines have changed. Only 4-year olds can be served in the public setting such as the one at Southern.

“If there are any 4-year-olds out there,” Superintendent Tony Deem 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 year, we are only permitted to accept children who are 4 years old before the deadline.

“Typically, we have over 60 kindergarten students in our units, so it makes sense that we have the number of kids out there to fill the preschool slots. Research tells us that educating children prior to age 5 maximizes their academic experience, so if you know of any 4-year old children, please pass along this message.”

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. 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.

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.

The Ohio Department of Education has announced that all programs, including those licensed by the Department of Education and the Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), are required to participate in Step Up To Quality, Ohio’s five-tier quality rating and improvement system for early learning and development programs. All locations that serve children through the ECE grant must be highly rated (three-, four- or five-star) by July 1, 2016.

More information regarding Step Up To Quality can be found at

Scott Wolfe

For the Sentinel