Calling all students and parents of the Class of 2029!
Palm Beach County Schools kicks off its Kindergarten Roundup season for families looking to enroll a child into kindergarten for the 2016-2017 school year.
Each year, every elementary school across the district opens its doors to introduce its buildings, classrooms, staff and programs to the newest students and their families.
Schools seek to ease student stress
Making the move to kindergarten can bring out a lot of emotions ranging from happiness to anxiety — for both the students and the parents.
One goal of Kindergarten Roundup is to help the district’s youngest students get acclimated to their new surroundings. Sari Myers, principal of Hidden Oaks Elementary School, said she’s experienced this event for many years and has seen the benefits it brings to the future kindergartners.
“It helps the children to feel more at ease,” she said. “If they see the school before the first day, then it’s not totally strange to them. They get a chance to see the cafeteria; they meet the administrators and teachers. It’s all meant to help make that transition easier for them.”
Kindergarten Roundup also introduces the new students to the type of activities they can expect to see in the fall when they start school. Literacy and math tables (filled with different books and math manipulatives) get set up in the cafeteria to allow students to get some hands-on experience with tools they’ll use daily in the classroom.
Myers said that many students say their favorite part of Kindergarten Roundup is when they get to go to the actual classrooms.
“This is really where the students get to explore and have a real sense of what to expect in a few months,” Myers explained. “Classroom teachers urge the children to look around and get comfortable in their new surroundings. That way, when they come into school on the first day, nothing is a complete surprise or strange to them. It gives them a solid foundation on which to build their academic future.”
Roundups help parents, too
Students aren’t the only ones who can feel overwhelmed by so many new experiences. New kindergartners’ parents may start feeling anxious right at the first step of kindergarten: registration.
“It’s that first step into full day school and parents have a lot of questions, especially about registration,” said Kathy Burstein, Palm Beach County Schools Media Relations Specialist and parent of an upcoming kindergartner. “There is a lot involved in the process. Kindergarten Roundup is the day where they can get the paperwork done and filed all in one place. With these logistics out of the way, the parents can focus on more important things, like their children and how to support them.”
Parents can register students during their building’s assigned Kindergarten Roundup session. A full schedule of all the roundups around the district can be found on the official Palm Beach County Schools website .
Having a child transition into kindergarten can make parents feel like they are on an emotional roller coaster as their child leaves home for full-time school — new routines, new faces, and new expectations await the family.
Myers referred to kindergarten as “the new first grade” and is much different than what parents may remember from their school days.
“It used to be students learned to count to 20 in kindergarten. Now they learn to count to 100,” Myers said. “They are learning to read and spell, too. Our school district sets the bar very high when it comes to math and reading skills, starting at the earliest grades.”
Make connections early at school
During Kindergarten Roundup, parents can also find out about a number of school volunteer opportunities, as well as get introduced to the parent-teacher association. Parents are encouraged to meet other parents, in addition to the teachers and administrators. Finding other parents with children starting kindergarten can be a solid source of support for the adults.
“For some parents, it may be the first time their child is attending school or away from home for an extended period of time,” Burstein said. “There are no more nap times; there may be homework. There are some big changes and it is an adjustment. The sooner the parents and children get involved with their new school, the better chance for a great start.”
For more information about Palm Beach County Schools, visit palmbeachschools.org .