Written by Jessica Gorman, K-4 Assistant Principal
Greenville Elementary School
Kindergarten is often the first introduction to school and one of the most exciting moments in a child and family’s life. Just a mention of the word kindergarten sparks memories in the hearts and minds of parents everywhere -- and for good reason! Kindergarten sets the stage for a child’s acceptance and involvement into the official school setting, where he or she will commit the next twelve years of their lives to learning about their personal strengths, needs, and limitations; the importance of friendships and social relationships; and, of course, academics. It’s a time that cannot be taken for granted because the quality of their start in kindergarten can have a direct impact on their ability to thrive in the years that follow, both inside and outside of the school walls.
Each spring at Greenville Elementary, a team of nurses, teachers, speech therapists, and administrators gather to screen incoming kindergarten students for the following fall. We meet with families to share information about our school and answer many questions about our processes and expectations. Our student screening tools gather information about children’s abilities to recognize letters and numbers, count, write their names, and communicate with adults. We also assess their independence and their ability to separate temporarily from their parents to complete the screener. Finally, we test for vision and hearing difficulties and possible speech issues. All this data helps us to assess each student’s capabilities and needs so that we can balance our classrooms and match needs with necessary resources in our building.
So, what can parents do to ensure that their child is ready for all of this? Mrs. Bell, a kindergarten teacher at Greenville Elementary School suggests, “Conversing with and reading to your child are two easy ways to prepare your child for school. They learn an abundance of skills such as asking and answering questions, vocabulary, expression, and the practice of listening to others.” One of GES’ literacy coaches, Mrs. Crews, says, “Children who come to school should be able to follow a few directions, be independent (tie shoes, use restroom without assistance, and solve minor problems), and be kind to their teachers and friends. When children come to us with those skills, it gives us more time to focus on academics!”
As a previous elementary teacher, I know that one of the most important parts of educational success is reading and talking with your child. Reading a book before bed each night, talking with your child at dinner, and looking for things to read while at the grocery store are just a few ways you can help your kindergartener be ready for school. Mrs. Hill, a GES kindergarten teacher, recommends, “I encourage all parents of incoming kindergarteners to take their children to a variety of places to help them increase their background vocabulary as this is directly correlated with their reading success. The more exposure a child has in new and varying situations, the easier it is for them to predict what might come next in a passage they are reading.”
Finally, we cannot overstate the importance of preschool. This experience not only gives children a head-start on foundational academic skills, but it also introduces them to classroom routines, normative behaviors, and social interactions -- with adults and peers. In addition, it allows children to gain independence by temporarily separating them from family members, which is important for a child’s maturity process. Whether a child attends one year or two, this exposure offers students a great amount of experience in the school setting, which can have a positive effect on confidence levels when kindergarten begins.
Greenville City Schools Kindergarten Registration for the 2023- 2024 school year will be held on March 27 –31 at Memorial Hall, with extended hours at MH on Monday from 4:00-5:30, and Tuesday from 4:00-6:00. Children must be five years of age on or before Aug. 1, 2023. Bring an official birth certificate, immunization records, custody papers (if applicable), a parent/guardian photo ID, and two forms of proof of residency. These items are required in order to complete enrollment. Once the enrollment process is complete, parents can sign up for a screening appointment. This year’s Kindergarten Screening will take place at Greenville Elementary School April 24- 28.
What an exciting time!
Please feel free to call Greenville Elementary
for any further questions.
Our phone number is 937-548-3185.