Thursday, April 20 marks the sixth annual Regional Kindergarten Registration Campaign, coordinated by Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond. This campaign establishes one common registration day for 13 school divisions – that’s 150 elementary schools – in the Richmond region.
Children who are five years old by September 30 can start kindergarten in the fall, but first they need to be registered. Thursday, April 20 is the day for on-time registration for children in the following school divisions: the cities of Colonial Heights, Hopewell, Petersburg, and Richmond, as well as the counties of Chesterfield, Dinwiddie, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, King William, New Kent, Powhatan and Prince George.
There is quite a bit of paperwork needed to register a child for kindergarten, and pulling everything together takes time. Parents and caregivers are still encouraged to attend registration even if they do not have all the documents because exceptions could apply. These are the documents needed for registration:
-Child’s official, certified birth certificate
-Two proofs of address
-School Entrance Health Form (This can be turned in any time before the first day of school)
-Photo ID for parent or legal guardian
While registration rates improved, more than 4,000 children were not registered on time in the spring last year — enough to fill about eight elementary schools.
“Our goal is to help more parents understand what it means for their child to be ready for kindergarten, and how they can help them at home,” said Monica Callahan, Director of Outreach and Development for Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond.
In the Richmond region, 1 in 8 children enter kindergarten already behind in language and literacy skills. This preparation needs to begin long before a child reaches kindergarten. “Children start learning as soon as they are born. Every day, there are teachable moments that parents can use to prepare their child to be ready for school,” added Callahan.
Smart Beginnings recommends these activities to help children build the skills and confidence they will need to be ready for kindergarten:
-Read and look at books every day
-Stick to a regular bedtime and wakeup time
-Practice counting real objects — like cereal or crayons
-Talk about their feelings and what kindergarten will be like
-Meet and play with other children their age
-Show respect and use good manners
-Find and name letters of the alphabet everywhere you go
-Visit and explore libraries, parks and museums
-Use scissors to practice cutting and crayons to draw
There are advantages for parents, children and schools when children are registered on time on April 20:
-Parents can get important information that they might otherwise miss;
-Schools can adequately prepare for space, staff and materials; and
-Teachers can prepare for the child in the classroom.
For more information about kindergarten registration and what to bring on April 20, parents can visit www.SmartBeginningsRVA.org or dial the phone number “2-1-1” and find information specific to their school division. 2-1-1 connects to trained professionals who provide free information on available health and human services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Smart Beginnings Greater Richmond is a public-private partnership working to enhance the quality of early care and learning for young children in the Richmond region so that they are ready to succeed in school and in life. To learn more go to www.SmartBeginningsRVA.org.