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Kindergarten countdown

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Posted: Wednesday, February 1, 2006 10:00 pm

Lodi parent Thomasina Kulp isn't overly worried about her twin sons Anthony and Jonathan, 4, succeeding in kindergarten next year. Getting them there, however, is a different story altogether.

"I'm a little nervous," Kulp admitted Monday, when she came to pick the boys up at Happy Hours Preschool on Turner Road. "I have to figure out where in the world to get all the information."

For parents or guardians like Kulp, help is on the way. Lodi Unified School District is holding its annual Kindergarten Roundup registration Monday, which runs through Feb. 17.

During that time schools will welcome enrollment requests from parents or guardians of any child who will turn 5 years old by Dec. 2 of this year. School staff will also be on hand at local elementary campuses to answer questions and direct parents or guardians to their proper home schools.

Local parents preparing for the transition into kindergarten are already thinking about their child's emotional and academic preparedness. While not required, school officials say preschool may be the answer to a more seamless passing.

Florence Costamagna, Lodi Unified's director of school readiness and pre-school services, said many children learn skills that are required for entrance into kindergarten.

"Parents are recognizing preschool is what kindergarten was a few years ago," Costamagna said. "Kindergarten is more academic (now)."

Lodi Unified parent Alicia Ramos knows more is being expected from kids entering kindergarten, but feels her 4-year-old son Danny Rios is ready for what's next.

Ramos kneels alongside Danny in his class at Lodi's James O. Linn Preschool. The teacher asks a table of students to pick a circle out of several shapes. Reluctantly, after a couple of false starts and some help from his mom, he picks up a piece of sandpaper with a black ring drawn on it.

Though Danny is her first child, Ramos isn't worried about her son making the transition from preschool to kindergarten because she gets support from preschool staff and office workers.


Jacqueline Camargo uses colored pencils to finish her assignment at James O. Linn Preschool in Lodi last week. (Angelina Gervasi/News-Sentinel)

"I'm excited for him," said Ramos, adding that Danny will likely attend Needham School, the campus in his attendance area. "Preschool's been a good experience for him."

For other parents who may have concerns about whether their school is headed for the best school, filling out a transfer request to another school is one option. Any school labeled "program improvement" must offer parents the option to choose another pre-selected school in their city of residence.

The deadline for transfer requests, called intra-district agreements (IDAs,) has already passed, but the request of kindergarten parents who have just registered may be taken later. District officials, however, encourage parents and guardians to attend and learn more about the school in their residence area.

Kindergarten Roundup, Lodi Unified School District's enrollment period, will run from Monday through Feb. 17. For more information on where to go and what to bring, call 331-8020 or visit http://www.lodiusd.k12.ca.us.

Kindergarten at a glance

Where to go for information

Online

For information about which school your child will attend based on home address, visit Lodi Unified School District's Web site at http://www.lodiusd.k12.ca.us and click on "attendance boundaries" on the left.

The district's home page also lists links to Web sites for individual schools of all levels, as well as school demographics and special programs offered.

To look up an individual school, click on "schools" near the top. Select a school level on the left for contact information of each school. Click on the name of a school to visit the Web site of that campus.

For information online about kindergarten readiness, visit http://www.kidsource.com/better.world.press/kindergarten.html.

By phone

Parents or guardians who wish to know more about Lodi Unified's school readiness programs can call the office of superintendent of elementary education at 331-7257 or the district's enrollment office at 331-8020.

There, they will be able to find out about which school their child will attend, what programs are available and what process they would need to follow to change schools.

Parents can also call the school in their attendance area for more information on programs as well as criteria and deadlines for registration.

In person:

Officials encourage parents and guardians to visit the elementary school in their attendance area during Kindergarten Roundup, the district's registration period from Feb. 6 to Feb. 17.

School staff will be on hand to answer questions about enrollment and school readiness, or to redirect people to the proper elementary school.

What to bring or know for registration period

Children who will be five on or before Dec. 2 of this year may register for kindergarten. Registration will be held from Feb. 6 to Feb. 17 at all K-6 and K-8 schools throughout Lodi Unified School District.

Parents or guardians will be required to provide the following documents to their assigned school:

• The child's official birth certificate, issued by the county.

• Address verification, including utility bill, rental agreement or Bill of Sale.

• Immunization records showing that your child has received the following required immunizations. This record may be the California Immunization Record or a form or letter listing the date of immunizations signed by your doctor.

• Polio; DPT/DT/Td (Diptheria, Pertussis/Whooping Cough, Tetanus); MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella); Hepatitis B; Varicella (chickenpox).

Kindergarten readiness skills

Listed below are readiness skills that will help promote your child's success in kindergarten.

Necessary

• Sits and listens to a story.

• Holds a pencil/crayon correctly.

• Draws a person.

• Cuts with scissors on a line.

• Washes hands and uses the restroom without help.

• Adjusts to being away from parents.

Helpful

• Shares and works with others.

• Follows simple directions.

• Knows the following colors: Red, yellow, blue, green, orange, purple, black and brown.

• Writes name.

• Counts to 10.

• Ties shoes.

How to prepare your child for kindergarten

• Limit TV watching to one hour each day.

• Read to your child every day.

• Ask your child questions that can be answered with complete sentences, not just "yes" or "no".

• Spend time with your child. Play games, go for a walk or attend story hour at the public library.

Source: Lodi Unified School District

Contact reporter Sara Cardine at sarac@lodinews.com.

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