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story.lead_photo.caption Natalie McKeel, teacher, works Friday with Valentina Sanchez-Gonzalez on a math problem in her kindergarten class at Reagan Elementary School in Rogers. - Photo by Jason Ivester

Parents will begin registering children for kindergarten within the next few weeks.

Photo by Jason Ivester
Alan Linares and classmates dance Friday to a song in their kindergarten class at Reagan Elementary School in Rogers.
Photo by David Gottschalk
Santiago Machado Cameringo (left) and Kingston Lewis (right) dance Friday to the nursery rhyme I’m a Little Teapot in Anita Ulrich’s kindergarten class at Holcomb Elementary School in Fayetteville. Schools are preparing to register kindergartners for the 2017-18 school year.

Administrators encourage parents to participate in spring enrollment to make sure their children have a spot in their neighborhood school. Registrations help district officials know how many kindergarten teachers they will need for the new school year.


Examples of skills to practice before kindergarten:

• Speaking in complete sentences

• Matching objects of the same shape, color or size

• Saying or singing familiar songs or nursery rhymes

• Putting together puzzles

• Recognizing the names of at least five colors and naming at least three shapes

• Recognizing and naming at least 10 letters of the alphabet, including letters in child’s first name

• Counting from one to 10 in order

• Using pencils, Crayons, markers and scissors

• Physical movements including running, hopping, throwing, catching and bouncing a ball.

The Arkansas Department of Education notes children are not required to achieve indicators prior to enrolling in kindergarten.

Source: From the Arkansas Department of Education Kindergarten Readiness Indicators Checklist

Kindergarten registration dates

Bentonville: Register early online Jan. 30-Feb. 10. Final registration is set for 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Feb. 28, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. March 1 and 7 a.m.-noon March 2 at the child’s school. More information can be found at under “Enrollment Information.”

Fayetteville: 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Feb. 23 at all elementary schools. Parents should print and complete registration forms that will be posted Feb. 15 at via the “Parents” tab.

Rogers: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Feb. 28 and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. March 1 at the child’s school. More details and registration documents can be found at

Springdale: Registration begins April 3 at elementary schools during regular school hours.

Source: Staff report

Schools generally require the following documentation to complete registration: a birth certificate, a Social Security card or number, an updated immunization record, proof of address and a copy of a physical medical exam completed within the past two years.

All children who are 5 years old by Aug. 1 are eligible to start kindergarten regardless of their skill level, said Virginia Abernathy, Rogers assistant superintendent over elementary schools.

"We will work with them wherever they are," she said.

Kindergarten classes in elementary schools in a child's attendance zone have reached capacity in some fast-growing neighborhoods, meaning some children have had to attend another campus in the district, Abernathy said.

"We encourage parents to come enroll their children in the spring for that reason," Abernathy said. "The child's name goes on a list when they enroll. That's the order they will get the seats."

Schools most at risk of reaching capacity in kindergarten in Rogers are Janie Darr, Tucker and Bellview elementary schools, Abernathy said.

Those schools in Fayetteville are Holcomb, Vandergriff and Root elementary schools, said John L Colbert, associate superintendent for support services. That's why spring registration is encouraged.

Bentonville's preregistration lets officials know about families thinking of registering a child for kindergarten, said Paul Stolt, spokesman. School officials send information to families registering early on how to finish the registration.

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In Springdale, registration information will go home to parents with children in schools the week of March 13, said Kathy Morledge, assistant superintendent over elementary schools.

Holcomb Elementary in Fayetteville has seven sections of kindergarten this year, said Principal Tracy Mulvenon. Many incoming students are familiar with the school because of older siblings. The registration event last year drew 118 of this year's class of 143 kindergartners, she said.

"Those kids are so excited to be here at school," Mulvenon said. "This is their official time to come to our school."

Kindergarten registration is a busy day, with Mona Foster, the school administrative assistant, setting up a room for parents and the incoming kindergartners. Fourth-grade school ambassadors give tours to the incoming students, including the library, cafeteria and computer lab, Foster said.

When children register for kindergarten, the process includes screening to determine what children know and are able to do before they enter school, Abernathy said. Teachers will provide parents with suggestions of activities that will help a child be ready for kindergarten.

Skills that help prepare a child include knowing colors, some upper and lower case letters, counting skills and understanding that a written numeral represents a number of objects, Abernathy said.

The daily kindergarten schedule in Natalie McKeel's classroom at Reagan Elementary School in Rogers includes a block of time for instruction on phonics, writing and reading. Another block of time focuses on math skills, including problem solving, measurement and geometry.

McKeel also schedules time each day for science or social studies activities. Her pupils rotate through "specials," with physical education twice a week, music twice a week, and library and art classes each meeting once a week.

The beginning of the year focuses on identifying letters and sounds, but children are able to read a book and write by the end of the year, she said. Students begin the year in math learning the basics of how to count and end the year with learning to think through math problems.

They also learn routines and how to make it through a school day, McKeel said.

"This is a kid's first time in school," McKeel said. "It has to be an open, welcoming place. They all love to be here. They love to learn."

NW News on 01/23/2017

Print Headline: Districts encourage kindergarten enrollment in spring

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