Trigger warning: Parents of little ones, you may want to get a tissue. It’s time to talk about kindergarten.
Registration for Cherokee County School District’s (CCSD) outstanding kindergarten program is underway, as we prepare to welcome the Class of 2034 in August!
While the thought of your little one getting on a bus for a full day of school may make your eyes water, know that they will come home filled with joy from learning and making new friendships.
CCSD’s kindergarten program balances important early academic steps such as learning to read and write sight words, and count numbers, with the art, music, movement and fun that have always been a part of the experience.
Kindergarten is for children who are turning 5 on or before Sept. 1. Exceptions for children who will turn 6 on or before Sept. 1 are considered on a case by case basis after an assessment, and a meeting between parents and school staff to make the best placement decision together.
The first step in the registration process is completing the online Registration Gateway form at https://registration.cherokeek12.net. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to enter information, such as emergency contacts. Once you complete the online process, call your child’s school to set up a follow-up appointment, at which you will need to present required documents (birth certificate, proof of residency, etc.). A list of those documents, as well as a helpful guidebook and a “day in the life of a kindergartener” video, are at http://bit.ly/CCSDkindergarten.
Our Office of Curriculum & Instruction is creating resource webpages for parents to learn more about each grade, with pages for kindergarten (http://bit.ly/CCSDresourcesK) and first grade (http://bit.ly/CCSDresources1) completed. These webpages not only outline skills that will be covered, but also how parents can help prepare their children with links to online resources and printables, such as flashcards and handwriting templates.
As a parent of four children in CCSD elementary schools, I know deciding when and where to enroll can be difficult. We enrolled all of our children, who all have second semester birthdays, in CCSD kindergarten on time at age 5. We felt they were well prepared by CCSD’s Pre-K program, which we strongly recommend (learn more at https://bit.ly/CCSDPreK).
The first decision was the hardest, as our oldest has special needs, but there truly is no better place for a special-needs child to be served than in a CCSD school. Our schools have the trained teachers, paraprofessionals, therapists and nurses, as well as the instructional resources, equipment and technology, to provide them with the highest quality special education possible — and the opportunity to learn alongside typical peers in regular education classes. Through the mutually beneficial inclusion practices of CCSD, special-needs children benefit from the role modeling of their typical peers, and those peers learn valuable lessons in empathy and kindness.
And that benefit should make all of us need a tissue.
– Barbara P. Jacoby serves as chief communications officer for the Cherokee County School District, and is a CCSD parent with four children.