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The district is holding seminars to make sure young scholars start out on the right foot.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Roanoke County educators want community members to know what kindergarten is, and what it’s not, so students will begin school ready to learn and poised for success as they begin their education.
To educate parents, grandparents and preschool providers, the county is holding kindergarten seminars to explain what students learn in kindergarten, what they need to be prepared and how to get them ready to enter school.
“What we realized is that a lot of people don’t realize that kindergarten is different than it used to be. It’s more than it used to be,” said Michele Dowdy , Roanoke County Schools’ coordinator of school counseling services and student records.
Dowdy said people think of kindergarten as play time, but it’s much more than that.
“They have a very tight schedule of academics,” she said. “We wanted to make sure parents and the community, everyone who is trying to help young children be successful in school, we want them to be aware of what’s going on.”
With these systemwide kindergarten seminars, officials hope to do that. The first seminar was held Monday, the second is today and another will be held next week.
Dowdy said each seminar will have the same presentation, and kindergarten teachers, counselors and others will be on hand to answer questions. She also said Kathleen Nininger, a retired school counselor who has written extensively on kindergarten readiness, will speak.
While Monday’s initial seminar was not well attended, Dowdy said officials are hoping for more participation and next year would like to expand the seminars and even begin them earlier in the year.
It is also the first time the system has presented seminars of this kind. Years ago, system officials would visit preschool programs to talk about kindergarten readiness, but this approach is aimed at being uniform and reaching more people.
Dowdy said the more knowledge people have, the better prepared children can be to enter school.
“Being ready for kindergarten will help that child be ready every year after that. That’s why it’s so important for them to come,” Dowdy said of the seminar. “The beginning of school really sets the state for the rest of school.”
Rebecca Eastwood, the school system’s director for elementary instruction and technology, said the idea for the new seminars came from the system’s kindergarten teachers.
She said teachers found there wasn’t a consistent idea of what students would be learning in kindergarten and the seminars will offer a uniform message of expectations.
Eastwood also encouraged parents and others to attend. She said the seminars will have the system’s experts who will be able to offer advice and answer questions.
“We are here. We certainly want to be available to answer any questions,” she said. “This is another way to reach out to our community.”
Tonight’s seminar is at Cave Spring Middle School in the auditorium at 7 p.m.
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