by Ashley Flynn
Kindergarten Round- Up for the 2013/2014 school year will be held in the Honeywell Center lobby on Wednesday, March 20. Parents may take their children either in the morning from 8 – 11:30 a.m., or in the afternoon from 4 – 7:30 p.m. Participating Wabash County elementary schools are OJ Neighbours, Southwood, Metro North and St. Bernard.
“Kindergarten Round- Up is important because it helps students meet all the requirements in one day,” said Sandra Boone of the Metropolitan School District.
Round up will include a vision screening, dental examination, fingerprinting by the police and sheriffs departments, a hand-washing demonstration by the Wabash County Hospital, and immunizations by the Wabash Health Department. Students and parents and students will also have the opportunity to meet school nurses and teachers.
For some extra fun, children can get their face painted and watch trained therapy dogs do tricks.
There will be about 200 students entering kindergarten this year, and round up is highly recommended for all of them. For those who do not attend round up, parents will need to make sure children get immunizations, a vision screening, and dental examination on their own time and parents will need to pick up kindergarten registration packets from their child’s school.
Round-up not only saves parents time by allowing them to get everything done in one day, but it also saves money since everything is free.
During round up, parents will fill out a pre-k questionnaire. Teachers will evaluate this to determine if students should register for Begindergarten, a six-week summer jumpstart program for kids with little to no pre-school experience. If the teachers recommend Begindergarten for a student, the parent will receive a flyer and be able to fill out the registration work needed. Students who do not go to round up can still participate in Begindergarten. Parents can register their child and pick up information from the school the child will be attending.
Begindergarten will be held at OJ Neighbours from June 17 through July 26. Students will attend Monday through Thursday either in the morning from 8:30 – 11:15 a.m. or afternoon from 12:15 – 3 p.m. Both morning and afternoon sessions will eat lunch at the school.
Wabash County schools participating in Begindergarten are Southwood, Metro North and OJ Neighbours.
“Begindergarten gives kids who haven’t had the opportunity to go to preschool to learn those skills that pre-k teaches them,” said Wendy Hix, a kindergarten teacher at OJ Neighbours Elementary School.
Begindergarten is a free program funded by a grant from the Community Foundation of Wabash County.
This is the second year Begindergarten is being offered. Last year, there were 22 students who participated, and 100 percent of the students made improvements.
“It was so successful last year. It is really great for kids who haven’t been in a classroom setting before. They did so well on their first day of kindergarten,” said Danielle Miller, Principal of OJ Neighbours.
Students at Begindergarten will work on motor skills, language skills, math skills, and social and emotional skills. They learn about letters, numbers, colors, shapes, and concepts.
Ms. Hix says she recommends Begindergarten for any students entering kindergarten without any pre-school experience.
“Kids without pre-k are starting so far behind that it makes it difficult in a room with so much variety,” Ms. Hix said.
Ms. Hix currently has one female student in her classroom that attended Begindergarten last summer.
“I definitely can tell she came into the classroom with experience opposed to students without prior experience. Not only did she know how to act in the classroom, but she was familiar with the building. She also knew some of the teachers already,” said Ms. Hix.
Most kindergartens are full day, and without prior classroom experience, that can be a big step for small children. Begindergarten teaches students how to listen, write and be part of a g roup.
“At Begindergarten, the kids ate lunch and learned out to do it. They learned how to line up and go through the line. That is really important for a 5-year-old. It really gave them the opportunity to just learn about school,” said Ms. Miller. “Participants had an easy transition into kindergarten, and it was really encouraging to see how well they did.”