Children prepare for kindergarten

NILES — Getting ready for kindergarten is not just a big step for children, but for parents as well.

To help with that transition, 19 school districts and 38 local agencies came together to help families at the fifth annual Kindergarten Transition Fair at the Eastwood Mall.

Desiree Farragher, early childhood mental health consultant and project coordinator with the Trumbull County Kindergarten Transition Committee with PsyCare Inc., said any child entering kindergarten in the fall could meet the school principals and teachers, see what it is like to ride a school bus, meet school resource officers or take part in hands-on learning activities.

“If the parents know what school their child will attend, they can meet the teachers and principal and get registration materials. This gives parents the opportunity to be prepared,” Farragher said.

Farragher, said starting kindergarten can be stressful for children and families, but the fair helped alleviate fears for the children and provided guidance and support to the parents.

She said what is important is registering child for kindergarten as early as possible.

Maggie Kowach, principal at LaBrae Bascom Elementary School, said having a child registered allows them to take part in summer preparation programs such as Bounce into Bascom.

“We try to get parents to register ahead of time and not wait until the day before. It is easier to start sooner,” Kowach said.

The event included 11 interactive learning stations, designed to educate parents about how to teach their children the skills necessary for success at school.

Shalyn Kay of Girard brought her son, Rowen, 4, to the event. Rowen will attend kindergarten in the fall in Girard.

“This helped me just as much as him. He liked going on the school bus and is excited to be going to school,” she said.

Tessa Mientkiewicz brought her son, Dominic, of Niles to the event.

“I was able to see all that is involved to register him for school. He met the principal and some of the teachers,” she said.

Mary Beth Bush, an early childhood specialist with the Early Childhood Resource Center, and Holly DeBernardo, a Lordstown teacher, introduced children to STEM activities.

“We try to get the children interested in STEM early since it is part of the curriculum in school,” Bush said.

Each child was presented a magnifying glass to look at items.

“When the children come up here to the table they get their magnifying glasses and know what to do,” DeBernardo said noting there were items, such as plant and animal materials.

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