Five years of preparation go into kindergarten readiness: Children learn to be social and to share; they can recognize some letters and numbers.
Kindergarten readiness is reciprocal: Children should be prepared academically and socially for the new experience, and schools should be ready to welcome them.
Kindergarten registration is now open at School District 65, and registering a child in a timely manner is important for several reasons.
Peter Godard, Director of Research, Accountability and Data at District 65 said, “Registering in spring is important because it helps ensure the best possible start to kindergarten for new students. Small differences in the months leading up to kindergarten can have a big effect on learning during the first few months of school. The later families register, the more transition experiences they and their children miss.”
Taking care of paperwork early also allows families to apply for programs and services, such as bilingual services, transportation, services, childcare services, free or reduced-price lunches, and placement in magnet schools and two-way immersion (Spanish-English) programs, said Mr. Godard.
With the registration information, the District and the school itself gather data about the child, the family, the child’s preschool experiences and any special needs, “so the teacher, the principal and the school are expecting your child,” said Diane Lequar, co-chair of the Literacy on Track Action Team of Evanston Cradle to Career (EC2C).
Parents can participate in play-dates at the school, so children will be familiar with the environment on the first day. “It allows the school to welcome the child. It really is nice that the teacher knows you are coming,” Ms. Lequar.
“Kindergarten readiness has a significant impact on where children will be in third grade, sixth grade and ninth grade,” Ms. Lequar said.
Early childhood educators and representatives from School District 65 sit on the Literacy on Track Action Team, all of them working to craft a set of standards for kindergarten readiness in Evanston.
“Kindergarten readiness is a hot topic around the country,” said Ms. Lequar. She added, though, that there is no real consensus among early childhood professionals as to what kindergarten readiness looks like. There are academic components such as knowing the shapes of letters and understanding how to count, and social-emotional ones such as listening and sharing; and there is often a dynamic tension between the two schools of thought.
One of the goals of the Literacy on Track team is to help “build bridges between the ideas of the School District educators and the early childhood educators,” said Ms. Lequar, adding, “It’s really nice that EC2C brings people to the talk that have expertise and a deep passion for children.”
Mr. Godard, who is also a member of the Literacy on Track Action Team, advises “all families with children under 5 should read, read, read. Twenty minutes of reading with your child each day is recommended to help them enter kindergarten ready to learn,” said Mr. Godard.
Registering for Kindergarten
at District 65
Peter Godard, Director of Research, Accountability and Data at School District 65, provided the following information about how families may register their children for kindergarten. It is important to register by the April 15 deadline, although later applications are accepted.
Families begin the registration process by gathering necessary documents: an original birth certificate and proof of residency documents as specified on our website.
Families can complete the next step of the registration process anywhere they can access the internet (e.g., at home, at a library, at their pre-school site). The registration form is available on district65.net.
The form allows families to upload copies of their documents. Families who need support filling out the forms or who do not have internet access can receive help at the District office, at the Joseph E. Hill Educational Center, 1500 McDaniel Ave.
The last step in the process is to come to the District offices.
Once registration is complete, families will need to submit health forms including proof a immunizations and results of a recent physical. The District’s health services team can help with this.
Families who do not know what their neighborhood school will be in the fall – because of a contemplated move, e.g. – should still register as soon as possible. Later they can notify the District of any change. The change-of-address process is much shorter than the registration process.
District 65 encourages families to register early even if they are uncertain about the process. Those with questions can call 847-859-8065 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
A variety of school services is available, but only after a child has been registered.