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It's time to "March into Kindergarten!"

Across Northeast Ohio, the “March into Kindergarten” campaign has begun. It means parents can begin to register their children for kindergarten.

Several Step Forward Head Start sites are scheduled to host Kindergarten Round-Up sessions, including George Forbes and Carl B. Stokes. These are opportunities for families to explore their options and speak with educators face-to-face.

"By registering early, parents and families are able to secure their child a spot in a classroom," Inez Owens, Site Administrator for George Forbes Head Start, explained. "It also puts them on the contact list to receive information and participate in events the schools have for families that will be starting their school in the upcoming school year."

Owens described the Kindergarten Round-up at George Forbes as a success. About eight schools attended the first day and at least fifty families were able to receive information. More than a dozen families decided on a school and enrolled them for kindergarten.

Children must have turned five-years old by August 1 and have proof of all required immunizations to attend kindergarten. Students are allowed to start kindergarten before they turn five if they are referred by a parent or educator and receive a positive evaluation.

Age requirements aside, it’s usually this time of year that parents and guardians begin considering whether their child is academically, socially and emotionally developed enough for kindergarten. Experts suggest children should be able to identify upper and lowercase letters, understand letter sounds, recognize their first and last name, identify colors and shapes and be able to count. Yet, when one asks kindergarten teachers what skills they wish incoming kindergartners would have by the time they enter elementary school, most recommend mastering life skills over academic-related tasks.

“I can teach them how to read and write, but I need them sitting in a seat and cooperating to do that,” one explained. “So, I would prefer they know how to line up, walk down the hall, use the restroom, know whether they brought a lunchbox that day, open their juice box, put on a jacket, tie or Velcro their shoes, know their family information, respectfully answer an adult, wait their turn, sit in a chair, keep hands to themselves and generally listen to directions, etcetera.”

With that, many educators are urging parents and guardians of incoming kindergartners to work on and fine-tune self-control, interactions with others, conflict-resolution, listening and communication and fine motor skills the summer before their first day of kindergarten.

Step Forward is proud to support our Head Start sites and community partners throughout this renewed campaign. Our agency helps ensure every child has the opportunity to begin an education right, is prepared to enter kindergarten and develops a love of learning from the start. Nationwide, more than 320,000 students and families successfully transition from Head Start programs to kindergarten. Statistics show when the transition is successful, children and families are more likely to experience long-term school success.

Give your child a Head Start and enroll today! Click here.

Learn more about Starting Point’s March into Kindergarten campaign here.

Step Forward Head Start is hiring!

The agency is offering a sign-on bonus of $1,000 for full time employees and $500 for part-time employees.

Positions include teachers, family service workers, nutrition aides and more. Step Forward Head Start is looking for education staff passionate about preparing young students for the future and helping them develop a love for learning early. Take a step toward a new fulfilling career today! Learn more and apply to open positions here.

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