HCS encouraging parents to register for early child development - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

HCS encouraging parents to register for early child development program

Source: WMBF News Source: WMBF News

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Early registration for the Horry County Schools' childhood development program ends Friday, but parents can continue to register their 4 year olds through the end of the school year and into the summer.

School curriculum is designed to educate and prepare your child for what lies ahead in the next grade. And that process starts earlier and earlier, with 4 year olds now being enrolled in early development programs.

These classes are made up of kids who turned 4 on or before September 1 last year. If you want to register your child, you have to come to the school; you cannot register online. Here's what you should have with you when you arrive: proof of residency, proof of income, your child's birth certificate and vaccination records, and your social security card is not required, but is recommended. After filling everything out, you'll then sign your child up for a screening, which will be at the end of May. These screenings look at things like language skills, motor skills, and how your child interacts in social settings. Decisions will be made in June. Click here for more details about registration.

But there has been some confusion about who is eligible. The program is based on financial need. The state requires that classes be filled first with those students, but then the rest of the class space is open to any and all children.

It is a full-day program that is designed to work like any other school day just catered to 4 year olds. So they'll ride the school bus, eat in the cafeteria, and have activities to do. Allen says many of these kids are coming with lower vocabulary skills and from non-structured environments. They paint, have sand tables, dress up, and have special guests. Allen says one example is a chef who will come and cook alphabet soup to go with the curriculum of learning the alphabet or spelling. Or the students have a place in the classroom to role play working in a store or bakery. Each fun activity will have a purpose. So this program is all about providing a taste of structure and lots of fun, so kindergarten won't be as overwhelming.

And there are other criteria they look at and take into consideration. Allen says factors like the age of the parents when the child was born and if the child has a speech impediment will contribute to their selection process.

Because of some state education legislation changes over the past year, parents now have more options to consider before signing their kids up. The change is designed to provide more funding for daycares to apply and become eligible for 4-year-old programs. So now parents can choose between school district programs and daycares that are supposed to be on the same standards level of curriculum and certified teachers.

Daycares that want to participate are just starting to build new curriculums to meet the new state standards. Horry County School District's program has been running for more than 25 years, and leaders say the curriculums have proven to be successful.

Jeanna Allen, the coordinator for the HCS early childhood development program, says their program hasn't slowed down despite the legislation changes. They're serving just as many students and they are not at risk of losing any teachers. This year, they have 55 classes in the district with 20 students per class, which is right on par with what they had the year before and what they anticipate to see this coming year as well. Each elementary school in the district has at least one class.

And early registration is really important this year, because Allen says they plan on selecting a few more kids in the first wave of screenings compared to years past. Click here for more details.

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly