Preparing For Kindergarten!
Nuts & Bolts: Kindergarten Registration Information
Children must be 5 years old by September 1st in order to start kindergarten. To register your child in a public school, you will need proof of residency — such as a lease agreement, mortgage statement, and utility bills — and your child’s birth certificate. Contact your local school district for more details. Oak Park, Forest Park, and River Forest school districts have full-day kindergarten. Learn more about your district’s kindergarten registration requirements:
- Forest Park District 91, phone: 708-366-7498
- Oak Park District 97, phone: 708-524-3000
- River Forest District 90, phone: 708-771-8282
Make sure your child has the completed health requirement documentation. There is a physical, dental and vision form. There are also required immunizations. Ask your child’s pediatrician or schedule an appointment at The Children’s Clinic or find your nearest Midwest Express Clinic for a School Physical. This will ensure that your child has met all the completed health requirements.
These assessments do not affect a child’s ability to enroll in kindergarten. Rather, they help teachers get a snapshot of each child’s current skills and knowledge at particular points in time. There are a few assessments for kindergartners that you may hear about and be asked to participate in as a parent or caregiver.
- Kindergarten Readiness Screening
Your school district may ask incoming kindergarteners to participate in a Kindergarten Readiness Screening. This screening does not affect a child’s ability to enroll in kindergarten. Rather, it helps teachers get a snapshot of each child’s current skills and knowledge. Screenings tend to take around 20-30 minutes and sometimes include a meeting with the child’s parents/caregivers.
Used in the classroom, the Kindergarten Individuals Development Survey (KIDS) is an observational tool designed to help teachers, administrators, families and policymakers better understand the abilities and behaviors of children in kindergarten. KIDS is core to the Illinois State Board of Education’s (ISBE) goal that every child in Illinois deserves to have a strong experience in kindergarten to support their overall success in school. KIDS focuses on the knowledge, skills, and behaviors across four key domains that most impact long-term student success. These domains are: Approaches to Learning and Self-Regulation; Social and Emotional Development; Language and Literacy Development; and Cognition: Math.
Parents of incoming kindergarteners may be asked to complete this questionnaire to help provide the district with a more complete picture of their child at the time of kindergarten entry. This 36-question survey will ask about your child’s behavior with regard to self-regulation, compliance, communication, adaptive functioning, autonomy, affect, and interaction with people. This questionnaire is filled out by the parent or caregiver and can help identify their child’s strengths as well as any areas where a child may need support. The questionnaire takes only about 10–15 minutes. It’s that quick and easy.
Below find quick links to registration information for communities in Chicago and the West Suburban Cook County area.
Ready for Kindergarten
Starting kindergarten is a big and exciting step for five-year-olds and their families. To help everyone feel prepared for this brand new experience, the Collaboration for Early Childhood has gathered some helpful pointers and tips to jump-start a smooth transition to kindergarten for everyone involved.
What is Kindergarten Readiness?
Positive early childhood experiences build the foundational social-emotional, physical, and academic skills needed for a smooth transition into a formal school setting. Self-regulation and the ability to successfully interact with others are key skills that children build during early childhood that support their overall success in school and beyond. There are four areas of development that parents can nurture during the early years to help children make a strong start in kindergarten. They are:
- Social & Emotional Development: This can include experiences that help with practicing regulation and positive interactions with others, and that support a positive sense of self.
- Physical Development: This can include experiences to practice self-care, physical well-being, self-help skills, and motor skills.
- Language Development: This can include having conversations to practice communication skills and having enjoyable experiences with books such as reading stories with parents and caregivers.
- Cognitive Development: This can include experiences that involve foundational academic skills such as sorting or counting items, making observations, and building things.
Kindergarten is a big transition for your child and for YOU! It can be helpful to prepare for what to expect.
Here are a few tips to ease the transition to kindergarten:
- Transitions are a part of life and also a part of every day. Here are some tips from Ms. Jenny about embracing transitions!
- Read books together about “getting ready for kindergarten”. You can find many at your local library.
- Develop daily routines including consistent wake-ups and bedtimes so they can begin to get used to a school schedule
- Visit your child’s school playground to get a “lay of the land” and plan your drop off and pickup routine together.
- If you need before or after school care, plan ahead and start looking at options now. You can search before and after school care options in our Early Childhood Resource Directory.
Continue being your child’s first and most important teacher. Get connected to local resources:
- Come to the Collaboration’s Blast Off to Kindergarten event at Rehm Park on May 21!
- Oak Park Public Library and River Forest Public Library both offer 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. A fun, long-term challenge to read every day. These libraries also will have great recommendations of children’s books about starting kindergarten that parents can read to their child.
Additional Resources for Parents and Caregivers Preparing for Kindergarten:
- Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Entering Kindergarten in Illinois
- How Parents of Preschoolers Can Support Social-Emotional Development from Brookes Publishing
- Building Social and Emotional Skills at Home | NAEYC
- Social and Emotional Learning: Strategies for Parents from Edutopia
- Digital Apps & Tools for Kindergarten Readiness from Oak Park Public Library
When children are able to focus, manage the environment around them, and cope with their feelings, then they are able to learn. Strengthening self-regulation skills in young children is a great way to set the up for success in kindergarten and beyond. You can watch the video below about this important skill and see more videos in the article, Helping Preschoolers Build Self-Regulation Skills That Are the Foundation of Success.
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