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Posted: Friday, January 15, 2010 12:00 am

Entering kindergarten can be just as stressful for parents as it is for children, so in order to ease concerns and questions the Kyrene School District is inviting prospective kindergarten parents to come to a special orientation next Thursday, Jan. 21.

Parents are welcome to bring their children along to orientation, which will be held at every KSD elementary school. The children will participate in a supervised activity and craft while parents learn the ropes of kindergarten in a separate room.

“Parents will get an overview of our kindergarten curriculum and learn what is expected that their children already know before the fall,” said Alyssa Kawa, a fifth-year kindergarten teacher at Kyrene del Milenio. “When we talk about the curriculum we break it down into reading, writing and math.”

While the orientation is not a time for parents to interview their child’s prospective teachers, it is a chance for parents to ask questions they might have about kindergarten.

“If parents want to prepare for the future this is a great opportunity because it reassures them,” Kawa said. “I would encourage parents to do their best to pop in, because the orientation doesn’t last a long time.”

Milenio principal Jim Verrill encourages parents to enroll their students early, as some parents have already enrolled their children for the fall.

“If children are enrolled early, we can ensure that we plan for proper staffing and supplies,” he said.

Verrill believes that Kyrene has a strong kindergarten program that is infused with parent involvement.

“We keep class sizes small and have a rigorous curriculum that focuses on the academic and social growth of children,” he said.

Tina Edwards, whose son is currently in Kawa’s kindergarten class, has found that her son has learned more than just math, reading and writing skills.

“My son will come home and sing a song he learned about money, which helps him remember details about coins and amounts,” Edwards said. “I feel like they make class fun, which is why the children retain so much.”

Edwards is also an active volunteer in her son’s class, which is common for parents at Milenio.

“I volunteer in the classroom two or three times each week so I get to see what they’re learning about,” she said. “The students, staff and parents are kind of like a big family at Milenio.”

Although Edwards has an older child that has already gone through kindergarten at Milenio, she still opted to attend kindergarten orientation for her son last January.

“Especially for first-time kindergarten parents, orientation gives you a chance to meet the teachers and learn about what your child will be expected to come in knowing in the fall,” Edwards said. “They hand out literature on different things you can start practicing with your child over the summer.”

Kindergarten orientation at all KSD schools will start at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 21. Children eligible for kindergarten this fall must turn 5 on or before Sept. 1, 2010.

For more information, visit www.kyrene.org or contact KSD’s enrollment specialist at (480) 783-4175.

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