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Trasitioning to kindergarten
March 24, 2017

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Preparing your child for kindergarten can be overwhelming, but the Austintown Local School District provides many opportunities to ensure your student has a smooth transition from home or preschool.

This article will touch on annual events that inform parents and students, how to register your child, a readiness program for your incoming kindergarten student, and a brief overview of what to expect from the kindergarten curriculum.

The annual kindergarten kickoff event is the first time incoming students and parents are invited to the building. The goal at the kickoff is to generate excitement within families and give them an opportunity to become familiar with our school. During kickoff, the kindergarten principal speaks briefly to the entire group about expectations and then allows families time to explore the building, kindergarten classrooms and also ask individual questions of various staff members.

A more in-depth discussion about expectations will take place during orientation in August. This is when teachers will speak about specifics, such as the kindergarten curriculum.

After kickoff, the Austintown Elementary School moves right into registration and screening for your incoming student. Kindergarten registration and screening is by appointment only, and a full list of dates and times are available at www.austintownschools.org under the AES page. Registration packets, available at both AES and the Austintown Early Learning Center, must be completed for the day of your appointment. This is very important, as all new kindergarten students must attend a registration and screening appointment. During the appointment there will be vision screening, vaccination records review, hearing screening, speech screening and a verification of registrations materials. Expect your appointment to be about 15 minutes.

A readiness program is also available to prepare your student for the upcoming school year. The program is Success by Six; a preschool readiness program funded by the United Way. This program is encouraged for students who have never attended preschool, who may have been recommended by a preschool teacher, who may need the social experience or who are young coming into kindergarten. This program is free and lunch is provided. It helps incoming kindergarteners brush up on or attain preschool academics, practice social skills, meet friends and learn the rules and procedures of their new school.

Each classroom has up to 15 students per class to every one certified teacher. This year the program begins July 31 and runs through Aug. 18. Students who are accepted into the program will receive an acceptance letter no later than the middle of July. Applications for the Success By 6 program will be in your child's registration packet.

The district also schedules an interactive Parent-Child Program in the spring to allow parents an opportunity to participate in hands-on activities with their child in order to learn more about the kindergarten curriculum, student-centered teaching strategies utilized by the teachers and develop activity ideas to use at home to strengthen academic skills. Details regarding the program will be available at both the March and April screening appointments.

As you can see, there are many programs and resources available to prepare your child for the curriculum. Kindergarten instruction is a well-rounded, developmentally appropriate curriculum that follows Ohio's learning standards for English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies as well as physical education, music, technology, art and library.

Teachers plan differentiated instruction based on student needs following administration of the state mandated Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA). The Ohio Department of Education website is an excellent resource for families to gain further information about the standards, kindergarten readiness assessment and the transition to kindergarten.

Although entering kindergarten is an exciting event for both children and families, children can sometimes be nervous about kindergarten, their new school and teacher or making new friends. Parents can ease the transition by being positive and excited, taking advantage of opportunities to attend events at the school prior to kindergarten and talking to their child about how exciting kindergarten will be.

Between now and the start of kindergarten, read with your child every day, visit the public library often, provide frequent opportunities for your child to play with same-aged children and allow your child to be independent with getting dressed, grooming, eating and cleaning up after himself / herself.

Austintown schools look forward to educating your child in the 2017-18 school year.

For more information, contact Bueno at b.bueno@mahoningesc.org or 330-797-3900, Ext. 1517.

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