SLO

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- Kindergarten registration is now open for the 2012-13 school year.

The Hawaii Department of Education, or DOE, encourages all parents to register their keiki for junior or regular kindergarten.

Keiki born in 2007 are eligible for the program.

Keiki who will be 5 years old on or before Aug. 1 may enroll in regular kindergarten; keiki who will be 5 years old between Aug. 2-Dec. 31 may enroll in junior kindergarten.

Although kindergarten is not mandatory in Hawaii, Army families are highly encouraged to consider registering into the program.

According to www.education.org, "Kindergarten plays a very essential role in early childhood development as it gives young students the opportunity to gain exposure both in and out of the classroom. Though it is not a requirement in many states, there are many benefits of enrolling your children in a kindergarten, from emotional and social growth to better academic skills."

Kindergarten teachers recommend that before keiki start kindergarten, they attend a preschool or kindergarten readiness program, such as the Strong Beginnings Pre-K program offered at Army child development centers.

Strong Beginnings Pre-K is an Army initiative designed to prepare keiki for kindergarten. The program provides a greater academic focus covering science, math, language/literacy, social studies and physical fitness, preparing the whole child for school success.

"(Strong Beginnings) has been extremely successful," said Debra Blanchard, coordinator, Child and Youth School Services. "We want to increase our numbers, and we want to increase awareness."

Another program is the Schools of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration, and Skills, or SKIES. This program offers preschool writing and reading twice a week.

Also, the Wheeler Armed Services YMCA offers preschool days to help keiki make a smooth transition into the structure of kindergarten.

Kindergarten Registration

Parents registering their keiki for kindergarten need to provide schools with the following documents:

•Birth certificate;

•Proof of residency, such as housing documents and utility bills; and

•Medical records documenting immunizations and physical and tuberculosis examinations, which will transferred onto the DOE Student's Health Record.

• Visit www.doe.k12.hi.us or call the School Liaison Office at 655-8326.

Page last updated Tue March 13th, 2012 at 00:00