Kindergarten 2021-22 holds the promise of full days in person with eager teachers and boisterous classmates. That first day in school is sure to be an indelible memory, filled with play and friendship. If your child will be five by September 1, now is the time to enroll them in kindergarten at Chautauqua Elementary School (CES).
“We’re planning for full days of in person kindergarten this fall,” says CES principal Rebecca Goertzel, “and we’re prepared to continue health protocols already in place for as long as we need to.” CES Kindergarten students this year returned to in person learning March 1st in socially distant classrooms, wearing masks, washing their hands and joining half their usual numbers of classmates. Students and teachers alike were excited to return to school and everyone has fully cooperated with required health and safety protocols, according to Goertzel. “Next year we may need to have three foot spacing of desks and continue mask wearing. We can adjust to whatever the health protocols require and still offer a fabulous program,” explains Goertzel.
Most years, Goertzel receives information about kinder-ready children from the Island’s several childcare centers. This year, however, “Childcare centers are closed, so we don’t know how many new kindergarteners are out there.” Consequently, CES is reaching out to parents in the community via unusual means, like newspapers. Look for posters around town and fliers too. “We have three or four classrooms of kindergarteners, with class sizes of up to 20 students. Knowing how many students we have will let us know how many teachers we need. Also, when parents enroll before May 1st we can make sure to put them with a friend in their class,” added Goertzel.
Ideally, kindergarten enrollment will be complete by April 30. That way, Goertzel will know how many teachers and paraeducators she’ll need, assuring she can add top quality candidates to her staff. Kindergarten at CES is already top quality with math and literacy learning in small groups, daily projects in art, crafts and drama. Teachers emphasize collaboration in all activities to prepare kids for teamwork with their classmates. Physical activity is key with three daily recess times and a weekly ‘forest’ time. Bilingual teacher specialists support English Language Learning students, and the school counseling team works on social-emotional skills. Students participate in art, Spanish, music, physical education and get to explore the library.
Goertzel encourages new Island families as well as those who’ve been around a while to enroll right away. It’s simple online at: https://www.vashonsd.org/enroll . Contact Kelly Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions. Or call 206-463-2882. To arrange before and after school care, find out how to enroll with Vashon Kids at Vashon Youth & Family Services: https://vyfs.org/vashon-kids.
Now more than ever, kids need to expand their horizons, and kindergarten can be the first big step in a healthy introduction to the joys of community. Enroll your child now.