by Terry Rogers
Starting Thursday, February 27, Milford School District began taking registrations for Kindergarten for the 2020-21 school year. Parents who have a child who will be five years old by August 31 should contact Evelyn I. Morris Early Childhood Center to arrange for a screening and registration appointment.
“Parents bring their child in for a brief screening while they complete the enrollment paperwork and provide required documents,” Jennifer Hallman, Principal of Morris, said. “Registration documents can be filled out at the school. However, many of them are available online if parents choose to complete them ahead of time. Online forms cannot be submitted electronically which means parents must print them at home and bring them in on the day of registration.”
Parents must provide copies of their photo identification, a state issued birth certificate with a raised seal, immunization or shot records, a current physical examination, lead test result and proof that they live within Milford School District. Residency proof may be in the form of a mortgage, lease or utility bill. If the parent has an guardianship or custody paperwork, they must also be brought to registration. While the child is screened, parents meet with a school nurse to discuss any health concerns about their child. Hallman explained that a hearing test is part of the screening process and any child that may be referred to the Spanish Immersion Program lottery must register on or before June 15th.
“At Morris, we screen all incoming Kindergarten students for academic readiness skills in the areas of literacy, math, fine motor and social or emotional skills,” Hallman said. “This information helps us meet the needs of each child as they enter school in the fall. In the area of literacy, a student who can identify all letters and letter sounds will have an academic advantage coming into Kindergarten. Basic number skills such as rote counting and one-to-one correspondence are also very helpful for math readiness.”
Hallman suggested working with children at home using flash cards for letters, letter sounds and numbers. She also explained that reading to children every day is one of the most important things a parent can do to support academics.
“Exposure to varied language and vocabulary is critical in supporting children’s reading readiness,” Hallman said. “Social skills that are important for Kindergarten students include turn taking and sharing, using manners as well as understanding and using words to express feelings. Students who have a successful start in school are often given social opportunities with same-aged peers prior to Kindergarten. These experiences may include sports teams, preschool, daycare, church groups, library groups or other structured activities for children.”
When it comes to transportation to school on those first few days, Hallman explained that riding a bus is often more concerning to the parents than it is to the children. She stated that students often look at it as an adventure and are excited for the new experience. Hallman explained that if the parents are excited about the bus ride, the child will also be excited.
“Any anxiety or concern parents or children may have is often resolved after a day or two,” Hallman said. “On the first day of school, parents can follow the school bus and see their child as they enter school on the first day. This can often be comforting for both parents and the students. Parents should also speak to children about the importance of safety rules that children should follow while riding the bus. These include talking quietly, keeping their hands and feet to themselves as well as staying seated at all times.”
Hallman explained that the district encourages families to register before the summer as having academic, social and medical information about children early helps them plan for the school year and ensures students success. She feels it is important for families to attempt to attend open registration dates, which will end in mid-June, and not wait until the summer to register.
“The staff and administration at Morris are looking forward to meeting the incoming class of 2033,” Hallman said. “We will be here to answer any questions that families may have about the exciting transition to school.”
Parents can reach Morris by calling 302-422-1650. Forms can be downloaded and printed from www.milfordschooldistrict.org. Parents should click on the Families tab to find the forms they will need. Forms will also be available at Morris during the screening appointment.