Pre-kindergarten registration will begin Thursday in Columbia County and will be held through Friday, April 2.
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The purpose of the pre-kindergarten program is to teach language, math and science concepts to children; to provide health services so children will be ready to enter kindergarten; and to give parents the assistance they need to transition their children into kindergarten, said Jonnie Ghetti, Columbia County's Pre-K administrator.
Thirteen of the county's 15 elementary schools participate in the preschool program - Blue Ridge and Stevens Creek elementary schools are the only ones that don't. Those in the Stevens Creek district may attend registration at Riverside Elementary School, and parents in the Blue Ridge district may attend registration at Evans Elementary School.
There also are private day-care centers that offer the lottery-funded program.
The number of pre-K openings in the public school system and at private day-care centers is determined by the estimated number of children eligible for the program. The school system, in essence, is just another program provider.
Each of the county's 16 preschool classes has only 20 openings. Grovetown Elementary School is the only school that has two classes because there are fewer private day-care centers in that area to serve children.
Because there are a limited number of openings in the public school system's Pre-K program, a drawing is held to determine who gets in, Ghetti said. A waiting list is also maintained.
To register to attend pre-K at a particular school, the child must reside in that school district. Parents will be required to provide a birth certificate child's Social Security number and proof of residency, such as a current utility bill showing the address.
Registration begins promptly at the designated time, and the doors are closed once registration begins, so parents are encouraged to come 10 to 15 minutes early. Those arriving late may place their names on the waiting list.
To be eligible por Pre-K registration, children must be 4 years old on or before Sept. 1, 2004.
Kindergarten registration in Columbia County also starts Thursday and runs until April 2 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Children should register in the school zone in which they reside. All students must be age 5 by Sept. 1, 2004, to be eligible for enrollment in kindergarten.
Exceptions are made if a child has moved to Georgia from another state where they were enrolled in a public or accredited kindergarten. Children in this category are eligible for enrollment provided they will attain the age of 5 by Dec. 31.
The schedule for pre-kindergarten registration is:
l Greenbrier Elementary School commons area, 9 a.m.
l Westmont Elementary School cafeteria, 2 p.m.
l Grovetown Elementary School cafeteria, 9 a.m.
l South Columbia Elementary School cafeteria, 2 p.m.
l Euchee Creek Elementary School gym, 9 a.m.
l Riverside Elementary School cafeteria, 1:45 p.m.
l North Harlem Elementary School cafeteria, 9 a.m.
l North Columbia Elementary School cafeteria, 1:45 p.m.
l Bel Air Elementary School cafeteria, 9 a.m.
l Martinez Elementary School cafeteria 2 p.m.
l Brookwood Elementary School cafeteria, 9 a.m.
l Evans Elementary School cafeteria 1:45 p.m.
l Lewiston Elementary School cafeteria, 9 a.m.
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