Even though it's only April, school districts in the Westfield-Southwick Area are already hard at work making plans for the incoming kindergarten kids this fall. As a general rule of thumb in our area if your child is 5 by September 1st, they are eligible to start kindergarten, but it is up to YOU as a parent to decide if your child is "ready" to begin this journey or not. There is no simple way to make that decision, especially now when you add COVID into the mix, because who knows what kindergarten will look like in the fall (6ft apart, 3ft apart, masks, no masks, vaccines, cohorts, hybrid, remote???) Even if you are thinking you might want to enroll your child in kindergarten for September 2021, now is the time to do it! All districts require you to register your child and that you provide proof of residency, age of your child, and appropriate medical forms (such as physicals and immunizations). But each district varies a bit with the rest of the details-check out the links below based on where you live!
West Springfield residents
West Springfield has prepared a welcome video and has plans to hold a virtual orientation for families in June. They have some in-person events planned for later in the summer such as a playgroup and story walk to help the kids get to know one another!
Westfield is asking families to register online through the link below. They have not yet posted the details but families will most likely find them out after enrolling their child.
Agawam has prepared a Kindergarten information video with all you could possibly need to know including how to fill out your enrollment packet and tips on how to get your child ready for school. You must enroll your child as well by clicking this link.
Southwick schools are planning an outside family friendly registration event on May 6th! There will be various tables set up with information about enrollment, food services, activities to prepare your child for kindergarten, and summer fun! The transportation department will also have a bus on site to explore and a game to play! How fun!
Russell & Blandford residents
Gateway schools are asking families to register their child and plan to do in-person screenings on May 14th (register by May 12th by using the link below).
In case you were wondering if your child is "ready" for kindergarten, here are family guides published by the state of Massachusetts that can help you understand what your child should be learning in preschool and kindergarten and ways you can help support this. *Warning-they are pretty dense so be prepared and don't read while driving or operating heavy machinery!
Click here for the MA Dept. of Education preschool guide (This guide tells you what your child "should know" or "should have learned" while in preschool-if they attended.
Click here for the MA Dept. of Education kindergarten guide (This guide tells you what your child "will learn" in kindergarten).
Social/Emotional Learning is also a huge thing right now in schools and classroom teachers and/or school counselors focus on supporting children in these areas in kindergarten as well. If you want to read more on what that involves you can click on the link below.
I know I know-it's a lot! Expectations are high for our tiny learners! But each town has supports in place to guide you with all this information. You can find them by googling "(your town) Community and Family Engagement Center". They can help with any questions or concerns you have about this exciting milestone in your child's life! Remember, you know your child best. And don't forget that every child learns at their own pace. So even if your child is 5, they do not have to start kindergarten if you do not feel like it is time. Talk to friends, family members, preschool teachers...there are lots of people out there who can help you decide if it is time for your little one to enter kindergarten! Good luck!
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