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Monday, February 14, 2005



Early sign-up urged
for kindergartners

Schools must plan for how many
teachers they will need this fall

Children born in the year 2000 who plan to attend public school should register now for kindergarten to take advantage of summer programs at many campuses and to ensure that schools hire enough teachers for the fall.

"Unfortunately, many parents wait until late summer or even the first day of school to register their keiki for kindergarten," said Grace Fong, principal investigator for the Learning to Grow Project at the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Center on the Family.

Registering early is simple and important, she said, because it allows both families and schools to prepare. Schools with an accurate count of incoming students can hire enough qualified kindergarten teachers, rather than scrambling at the last minute.

Most public schools offer spring or summer transition programs for children who will be entering kindergarten. Parents also need to gather documents and ensure their children are immunized before starting kindergarten.

Parents with children who will be 5 by Dec. 31 should call or visit their nearest elementary school to determine whether their street address falls in the school's district. To register for kindergarten, parents need to provide the following documents:

» Health records (Form 14) -- children must have a physical examination, written documentation of required immunizations and tuberculosis clearance to begin school.

» Birth certificate -- an original or certified copy is required to verify the child's age.

» Legal documents -- if there were changes to the child's name, custody arrangement or guardianship, the legal documents that verify the changes are needed.

» Proof of current local address -- a document such as an electric, telephone or cable bill, or a housing or rental agreement that shows the address of the child's home.

For more information about registering children early for kindergarten, call the nearest elementary school, or check the Department of Education Web site at doe.k12.hi.us/parents/index.htm.



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