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Placer Hills District to hold “round-up” for kindergarten registration March 30

By: Staff member
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Parents who plan to enroll their children for kindergarten next year can get help with registration packets this month, according to school district officials.

Kindergarten packets must be turned in during the Placer Hills Union School District “Kindergarten Round-up” at Sierra Hills School in Meadow Vista from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., March 30. The event’s purpose is to “round up” registration packets for 2016 – 2017 transitional kindergarten (TK) and kindergarten sessions, according to school district officials.

Enrollment packets for transitional kindergarten can be turned into the school’s office anytime during regular school hours, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., according to school clerk, Nanette Means.

Maureen Rawlings, registrar for Sierra Hills School, said that the “round-up” will help the district gauge how many students will attend school next year and will help parents assemble required documents for enrollment.

To register a child for transitional kindergarten or kindergarten sessions, the following documentation is required: a birth certificate or baptismal record, a physician’s examination, a childhood immunization record and oral health assessment, and two documents to certify residency in the Placer Hills Union School District, according to a California Department of Education website at cde.ca.gov/ci/gs/em/kinderinfo.asp.

Children who attend kindergarten or transitional kindergarten have a more successful start in school, according to two Sierra Hills School teachers.

Kindergarten teacher Kathy Sindel said that 4-year-olds in kindergarten need more time in “developmentally-appropriate activities,” according to research. These activities include engaging in free play (such as dramatic play and block play), hearing age-appropriate stories, interacting with peers and adults, problem solving and developing fine-motor skills (holding a crayon or pencil).

Each child has his or her own rate of development and most 4-year-olds need the extra time to become ready for traditional kindergarten, Sindel said.

The California Kindergarten Association points out that “a TK Program will provide the youngest kindergarteners with a readiness year that is developmentally appropriate and will better prepare them for success once they enter traditional kindergarten,” according to Sindel.

Adding traditional kindergarten sessions is an important development in California’s education of young children, Sindel said. That’s because the state “now recognizes that many are too young to enter kindergarten,” Sindel said, using the old cut-off dates.

To qualify for traditional kindergarten, children must be 5 years old by Sept. 1.

To be eligible for transitional kindergarten, children must turn 5 between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2.

A kindergarten teacher for 27 years, Sindel said that many of her role model students in kindergarten classes have come from transitional kindergarten or preschool programs.

“They are my “top-dogs,” Sindel said.

Amy Dieter is both a transitional kindergarten teacher at Sierra Hills School and the parent of a former transitional kindergarten student who did well in the program.

Dieter’s daughter’s birthday fell outside of the birth date requirement (5 years by Sept. 1) so she enrolled in transitional kindergarten instead.

In transitional kindergarten, her daughter blossomed academically and socially, Dieter said.

“I still find it surprising that kindergarten is not a state requirement. Families have a right and some choose to enroll their children in school beginning in first-grade,” Dieter said. “However, the social, emotional and academic deficit for these children can be stunning. One benefit of kindergarten might be obvious: academic readiness.”

Dieter said that Common Core standards for kindergarten students are rigorous.

“Students in first-grade are learning material I learned in second grade,” Dieter said. “TK and kindergarten provides children with the foundational reading and math skills they need for success with rigorous curriculum.”

Adopted by the California Department of Education (CDE), Common Core State Standards describe what students should know and be able to do in each subject in each grade. In California, the State Board of Education decides on the standards for all students, from kindergarten through high school. The California Department of Education helps schools make sure that all students are meeting the standards, according to the CDE website at cde.ca.gov.

In addition to academics, children learn social-emotional development in their kindergarten classrooms, Dieter said.

“Making and keeping friends doesn’t come innately to many children,” Dieter said. “They learn these skills in TK and kindergarten through explicit class meetings and practice during structured play time with peers.”

“A final benefit of TK and kindergarten is how much fun it is! We make time to play,” Dieter said. “Children learn when they play, sing, move, cook, build and imagine.”

The March 30 round-up event will be held at the Sierra Hills School, 16505 Placer Hills Road in Meadow Vista.

For more information, call the school office at 878-9473.