Anxious, apprehensive, uneasy, even sad and upset could be used to describe some parents of Pre-K students on the first day of school. Fortunately, parents soon realize that the Columbia County Schools' Pre-K Program is the place for their 4-year-old.
On the first day of school, parent apprehension will melt away as they witness their child being greeted by highly qualified, smiling teachers and paraprofessionals.
Students will be welcomed to a bright and cheerful learning environment that is overflowing with learning opportunities. Yes, it is sometimes difficult for parents to send their precious 4-year-old to school. However, the transition from home to school will be easier if parents prepare both themselves and their child.
Parents play an important role in ensuring a positive school experience for their child.
It is important for the child to know that their parents are enthusiastic and positive about school. Parents should talk with the child about going to school.
Getting enough rest is also very important. Therefore, parents should establish an evening routine and bedtime that insures adequate rest. Parents need to make sure the morning schedule is not rushed. If parents take their child to school the first day, they should willingly (try not to cry or appear upset) turn their child over to the teacher, give the child a hug and tell him or her to have a good and leave the classroom.
Parents of children selected by lottery during March and April are provided a packet of information along with a checklist of all information that should be provided by May 10 in order to enroll their child in the Columbia County School System Pre-K program.
The Immunizations record on Georgia Form 3231 and the three-point screening form (eye, ear and dental) Georgia Form 3300 are required. In cases where the three-point screening and immunization cannot be completed by May 10, an official appointment card from the Health Department or your doctor is acceptable.
Prior to the first day of school, parents should check the school's schedule and, if the child is a bus rider, the approximate time for pick up.
This information will be available in the July issue of the Columbia County Special Edition and on the Columbia County Schools' Web site. A parent or responsible person must wait with the child at the bus stop and help the child board the bus in the morning as well as be there in the afternoon to receive the child.
Breakfast and lunch are available for all students at regular, reduced and free rates. The weekly menu is available on the Columbia County Web site and is published in the News-Times. All Pre-K students go to breakfast and lunch. If you child is not eating breakfast, you may want to send a snack. Nutritious snacks are provided to all preschoolers daily.
Preschool is an active place to learn. Children paint, glue, play in sand and water and play outdoors. Therefore, appropriate dress is very important. You should dress your child in comfortable, washable clothes that can be easily pulled up and down for bathroom needs. Your child should wear safe footwear such as tennis shoes.
Shortly after the start of school, parents are invited to attend an orientation to learn more about the Pre-K program and to get to know their child's teacher. Parents should plan to attend. To further assist with the transition from home to preschool, three resource coordinators are available to assist parents and students. Parents are encouraged to attend the parent workshops conducted by the resource coordinators.
Parents may access the Columbia County Pre-K Program Handbook for Parents at the school system's Website - www.ccboe.net. Link to Student Learning and link Curriculum or call 541-0650 for a copy. This handbook provides a wealth of information that should help ensure a successful preschool experience for both parents and students.
Jonnie Ghetti is Columbia County's pre-kindergarten administrator.
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