Preparing children for their first day of school takes more than getting the youngster dressed and at the bus stop on time.
Registering a child for pre-K or kindergarten is only the parents' first step toward developing their child's successful school career.
Reading to a child before and during their first years of school is always a good idea, said Phyllis Means, the director of elementary student learning for the Columbia County School System.
"We're talking about reading to them, talking with them from the time they are born," Means said, adding that early registration is highly recommended, especially for parents moving from a private to public school.
Overhearing and being part of conversations, Means said, is just as important to a child's intellectual development as reading.
"Conversation is so important," Means said. "A lot of this can be done in our present time, as they are driving places, when they are visiting different kinds of locations like museums, or the park or wherever."
Means also said parents can use different types of books such as concept books, alphabet books, counting books, picture books and repetitive and rhyming books to prepare their children.
Books recommended by the school system include Dr. Seuss' ABC; Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed; Red, Yellow, Blue Shoe; and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
A complete list of recommended books for children can be found online at www.decal.state.ga.us, the Web site for the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, Means said.
Pre-K and kindergarten are active places to learn, so parents should dress new pupils in sturdy, comfortable and washable clothing. Those pupils paint, glue, play in the sand and water and, weather permitting, play outdoors every day.
Also, school officials recommend that pupils wear comfortable tennis shoes and clothes that are easy to pull up and down for bathroom needs. Parents need to provide their children with sweaters or jackets on cold days, and label clothing with the child's name.
An extra set of clothing, including underwear and socks, should be sent to school in case of emergencies.
Though snacks are provided, a good breakfast is recommended. Parents can send a snack to school with their child, especially if the child does not eat breakfast.
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