Alysia Davis -- March 1st, 2011
Beginning kindergarten is an exciting time for many local families. Not only is it a significant transition for children and adults alike, it is a critical planning time for school systems as well. Registration begins the week of March 14, 2011, in Rockingham, Augusta, Page and Shenandoah counties, as well as in Harrisonburg, Staunton, and Waynesboro city schools.
Kristie Kauerz, director of early learning at Education Commission of the States, points out that because there is no national standard for defining kindergarten, some parents may feel confused regarding what it takes to get their child enrolled in school. Virginia mandates that school districts offer full-day kindergarten, and all children who will be 5 years old on or before September 30th can register.
Smart Beginnings Shenandoah Valley is a local coalition working to improve school readiness in children ages 0-5, and promoting early kindergarten registration is one of the organization’s primary goals. This is the second year that the group coordinated registration to be the same week in all seven local school systems, which greatly simplifies the process of getting the word out about registration across the Valley. Kelley Davis, chair of the coalition’s Transition to Kindergarten Team, describes the importance of registration:
This helps school systems be better prepared for the upcoming school year. With more accurate numbers, it helps principals prepare class roles, plan more manageable class sizes, create new classes if needed, and hire new teachers.
Other justifications for early registration include reducing unease felt by children by allowing them to become familiar with their new school, helping parents answer important questions, and assisting local doctors and health centers work with families to complete required immunizations and check-ups.
To register a child, the following documents must be presented: birth certificate, proof of residency, immunizations and physical forms. Some school systems also require a social security card/number. Contact your local school system for more information and questions regarding specific dates or documentation requirements:
Augusta County Schools: 540-245-5100
Page County Schools: 540-743-4252
Rockingham County Schools: 540-564-3254
Shenandoah County Schools: 540-459-6222
Harrisonburg City Schools: 540-433-3644
Staunton City Schools: 540-332-3920
Waynesboro City Schools: 540-946-4600