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Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?

Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?


If your child is five years old, it's time for kindergarten. Have you registered yet? Here's what to expect.


By FamilyTime

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Although it varies from state to state -- and in some cases town to town -- nearly all children enter school by age five. Kindergarten is not an option; it's the law across most of the nation.

Before you take your little one by the hand and head for the nearest elementary school this fall, you will have to register him or her. If you have not yet done so, don't wait much longer.

How to Register
The procedure varies from one school district to another but all share some commonalities. Call your local board of education or visit its Web site to find the particulars for your community.

Kindergarten registration usually opens in the spring before the child is ready for school, and runs through the summer. Call first -- the office where you register may have shortened summer hours.

Not every five-year-old is old enough for kindergarten. States have different age requirements, which are based on when a child's fifth birthday falls.

What You Need
Some school systems require that the child be present at registration. Most do not.

Nearly every school district asks for the child's birth certificate, or other proof of age, and his or her social security number.

The municipality also needs proof of address. This is usually a lease, mortgage statement, utility bill, or similar legal document that is no more than a month or two old. In most cases a parent's driver's license is not sufficient.

If there is a custody agreement, bring it with you. This might be the divorce decree or papers from the appropriate social service agency.

Most schools require that children have basic immunizations. If religious beliefs or other reasons have prevented your child from being vaccinated, bring a doctor's letter stating these.

Health Records
Your school district probably will require a health form, filled out by your child's doctor or a reputable clinic.

You will also need to provide proof of vaccinations. Again, this varies from state to state, but most kindergartners will need DPT or DtaP shots (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertusis-which is whooping cough), polio vaccines, MMR vaccines (measles, mumps, and rubella), and Hepatitis B shots.

Talk to Your Child
While you take care of the business of registering your child, don't neglect your budding student. Talk to him about the coming year, make sure to answer all her questions, visit the school, if you can, and encourage your child to look forward to kindergarten.

This generally is not hard. Most youngsters are excited about joining the ranks of the "big kids" and heading off to school!




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