HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (March 4, 2022) – Kindergarten readiness rallies at Henderson County Public Schools (HCPS) elementaries kick off later this month for families who have registered their kindergartners for the 2022-2023 school year!
New this year, each of HCPS’ 13 elementary schools will host its very own rally where incoming kindergarteners and their families can get to know their new school community, learn about kindergarten readiness skills they can practice at home this summer, meet teachers and administrators, and ask questions about the important first year of school.
It’s also where each registered kindergartner will be able to pick up a special READY! Kit prepared by HCPS, the Smart Start Partnership for Children, and community sponsors. Packed with items like books, crayons, clay, safety scissors, Unifix cubes and activity sheets for using the materials, the READY! Kits are designed to help prepare children for their first day of school. These activities incorporate practicing fine motor skills such as using safety scissors to cut paper, stringing items, and connecting cubes; logical thinking; color recognition; counting and number sense; alphabet recognition and introduction to Letterland characters used in the district-wide phonics program; and more.
“Kindergarten readiness” is an important annual initiative that HCPS, Smart Start Partnership for Children, and other community partners collaborate on each spring to help children and their families prepare for their very first year of school. In years past, a large Readiness Rally encompassing all district elementaries was held at a single location. Last year, the district partnered with Smart Start to create the READY! Kits for at-home use, and this year are transitioning to school-based rallies with dates in late March and early April.
“We know parents and families get excited to see the school their child is going to attend. This is a chance for them to get that first look, in an atmosphere that’s tailored to support the transition from Pre-K or home to kindergarten,” said Dr. Shannon Marlowe, HCPS Director of Elementary Education. “Not your typical ‘back to school’ events, these rallies aren’t so much about the busy first day of starting school. Rather, they’re focused on what families can do – with our support – in the weeks and months beforehand to prepare their child for success.”
“As a parent of an incoming kindergarten student, I am looking forward to my child’s first “kindergarten experience” being in the school she will attend,” said Samantha Hyder, whose daughter is registered to attend Upward Elementary. “What a wonderful way for her to get to see her new ‘big kid’ school, become familiar with her school’s staff members, and maybe even meet a few new friends that will be with her at her new school!” Hyder said. “It is a great way for her to begin to feel like she belongs there.”
Dates for each school-specific readiness rally are listed on HCPS’ “Get Ready for Kindergarten” webpage, which is a new addition to the Elementary Education website this year. Families are encouraged to check out HCPSNC.org/elementary-education/GetReady4K for kindergarten readiness resources that support early childhood development and literacy, like the N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s “Let’s Get Ready” Guide and digital home library. Also linked on the resource page are HCPS’ “Kindergarteners Can!” videos, which families can watch with their children to help familiarize them with an elementary setting and school-day activities.
Still Need to Register for Kindergarten?
The online enrollment form at Kreg.HCPSNC.org is live and accepting registrations for the 2022-2023 school year. HCPS is enrolling children who will be 5 years old on or before August 31, 2022, and students should be registered in their home school district, even if a parent or guardian plans to make a request for transfer or reassignment to another elementary school. Families can call the HCPS Transportation Department at 828-697-4739 for assistance determining their home school district. By registering now, parents and guardians of new kindergarteners can receive school-specific orientation activities and messages this spring, including invitations to their kindergarten readiness rally!
On Saturday, March 5, the school district’s ESL Family Center and community partner Hola Carolina will be providing in-person support for families needing assistance with the online registration process in Spanish. “Inscripciones para Kinder en Espanol” will take place 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hola Cultural Center, located in Jackson Park at 801 Fourth Ave. East, Hendersonville. Families can also contact ESL Family Liaison Evelyn Angeles-Alarcon at 828-388-2632 with questions about kindergarten registration. Additionally, families who need help completing or have questions about the online registration form should contact their child’s school for assistance.
Want to Help Pack READY! Kits?
Volunteers interested in helping Smart Start Partnership for Children assemble the 1,000 READY! Kits on March 11 can sign up through VolunteerMatch at the following link, https://bit.ly/3s4WsAU, or by calling Communication & Development Director Carrie Ann Chandler at 828-693-1580.