Welcome to our Kindergarten Information Page!
Many things will be shifting and changing from our normal kindergarten processes this year due to the covid-19 pandemic. What won’t be changing is our enthusiastic welcome to parents and students to our schools! We are happy you are here and hope this page provides all the information you need along with the various dates and details for enrolling your rising kindergarten student into one of our four elementary schools. We will be updating this page weekly as we move forward with our kindergarten planning.
- All current resident children are registered through our Early Kindergarten Registration process from March 1- March 12, 2021 (more info at bottom of page)
- Current preschool children enrolled at Bridge Street and Leeds School are already registered and no further forms are required
- Questions: Contact Jennifer Towler, Registrar (413) 587-1328 email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Erika Frank, Early Childhood Office (413) 587-1471 email: email@example.com
Information Meeting for Parents & Guardians (Virtual) – Post Meeting Follow Up
If you were not able to make it to the virtual meeting held on January 21, you can watch the video below. Questions and answers are also posted below.
Please find the cloud recording of the Kindergarten Info Night, here.
The passcode to access the video is — %bV83DLY
Encuentre la grabación en la nube de la noche de información sobre el jardín de infantes aquí.
Questions & Answers from our Virtual Info Meeting
Q: Please address the differing #’s of teachers listed for each school. Are the # of classrooms at the K-level different?
A: The number of classrooms varies by school and year (generally 2 or 3 classes in each grade). This year Leeds and Jackson have 3 classes each and Ryan Road and Bridge have two. Class sizes generally vary from 18-22 students.
Q: Are there opportunities for students to learn a second language?
A: Foreign languages are not formally studied at the elementary level.
Q: Will there be a kindergarten orientation for the students prior to September?
A: Yes, orientations will take place the first three days of the school year. Parents will have a scheduled time to bring their child to meet with the teacher and see the class. The teacher will answer questions and review important information like schedules, pick up and drop off procedures, etc. Additionally we have August playground playdates which are a fun and relaxed way for children to get used to their new school playground, make new friends and for parents to socialize. School staff or volunteers from the parent-teacher organizations will be available to answer questions.
Q: Will in-building kindergarten happen and are there contingency plans? Q. How will the kindergartens work if we must be remote or hybrid? The descriptions so far seem to assume we will be in person. Q: Is the expectation that kindergarten will be in-person in the fall?
A: We are hopeful that school will be in person in the fall, though there is no way to know with certainty. It’s likely that some of the current safety protocols could still be in place based on health recommendations (spacing, additional cleaning protocols, masks, etc).
Q: Is there a plan at the district or school level to address what appears to be a bump in the kindergarten population next year, because a number of five-year-olds did not enter this year due to covid and remote school? Or a plan to address what appears to be a likely uptick in the median kindergarten age? (similar question) Q: Will kids who are six by Aug. 31 be expected to proceed to first grade, or will the district permit parents who did not enroll five-year-olds this year to choose (to repeat)?
A: The district is aware that the closing of schools last spring and the remote and hybrid leaning models are not able to provide a traditional year of learning. This is a challenge across the state and the nation. The soundest educational approach is to keep same aged peers together and for the schools to have the flexibility to meet the needs of the child as opposed to students meeting specific ‘readiness’ standards. We anticipate that K aged children will be placed in kindergarten, and 1st grade age children will be placed in 1st. Screenings and assessments are tools that can be used in these determinations along with input from parents. Children will pick up skills quickly when they are developmental ready to do so and being with same aged peers allows for both academic and social emotional growth to happen more rapidly than placing a child with younger peers. Our teachers use differentiated instruction that tailors their teaching approach to match their student’s learning styles and gives every student multiple paths to learning.
Q: What are average class sizes for each school?
A: Classes are generally 18-22 students. The state maximum for Grade K is 25 students. This changes every year depending on the number of children. There is a primary teacher and an ESP (educational support professional) in each class that are present with the children all day, as well as a special education teacher for kindergarten.
Q: Can you please elaborate on the extent to which videos or screens are used in kindergarten? (Assuming in-person education.)
A: Generally there is very little screen time in kindergarten. Our science lessons start with a video before breaking off into discussion and activities/experiments. Some teachers use a big screen for a visual timer or a movement break. Otherwise, it’s not a big part of our daily activities. We want to focus on relationships and building a community and screens typically don’t support that work as well as playing and role playing and working together face-to-face.
Q: Do the after school enrichments programs have a fee? Are the enrichment programs daily all year long?
A: Each school runs an afterschool enrichment program that varies in the number of days per week, the number of weeks, the class offerings and the fees. The offerings depend on staff and parent volunteers. The offerings vary by grade. The enrichment programs are different from before/after school childcare programs (M-F). Enrichment programs are not available on snow days or over vacation. The YMCA, People’s Institute, and the Northampton Recreation Dept offer summer/vacation/snow day/half-day coverage. Contact the program directly to inquire.
Q: How do we select a school if it is different from the one we are assigned to?
A: Northampton Schools offers the Open Enrollment Program (resident school choice). There is an application available with a March deadline. Space is limited and those applying with a sibling who already attends the preferred school are selected first. If seats remain after siblings are placed, a lottery is conducted among them. There is no transportation for students attending outside of their assigned school. http://www.northamptonschools.org/open-enrollment-program/
Q: How are safety drills framed for students?
A: The purpose of any drill is to prepare students and adults with the knowledge they need to quickly make their way to safety in the event of an emergency situation. Practice drills throughout the year help children learn how to respond quickly and calmly when the need arises. Drills are conducted in a calm manner. All children will participate in mock lock down, fire, and bus evacuation drills.
Q: Who do I sent health physicals to? What about the vision/hearing screening?
A: Health records will be submitted to the Registrar as part of the registration packet and the form your doctor will provide to you will include a summary of the last physical exam, vision/hearing screenings, lead test results and immunizations.
Q: Are the 2021-22 (registration) forms available now or will be made available in March?
A: We will be asking parents to submit Early Kindergarten Registration packets from March 1-March 19. You can request the forms are mailed to your home (by emailing the registrar at firstname.lastname@example.org) or you can download the forms and instructions on this website. We hope to connect with each family via phone, video chat or zoom in case you have any questions! We’ll miss meeting you in person.
Q: How can I find out if my child can ride the bus?
A: The annual bus form will be mailed to all students who are eligible based on mileage. Students must live more than 1.5 miles from the school to be eligible. Busing by state law is free if a student lives more 2 miles away, and there are fees associated if you live 1.5-1.99 miles away. The fees are waived if eligible for the federal meals program. Parents (or someone you designate) must wait with the child at the bus stop and be present when the child is dropped off. If not parent is present at drop-off, the child will be returned to the school. Kindergarten students sit directly behind the bus driver in the 1st few rows and are closely monitored. More bus information can be found on our transportation page: http://www.northamptonschools.org/project/transportation-services/
Q: How do I sign up for the before & after care program?
A: The YMCA and People’s Institute programs would prefer parents contact them directly in the spring. These programs are aware of the elementary school start times changing. The YMCA program tends to be at capacity at both Jackson & Bridge and adding your child to their list in the spring is helpful for them to plan their staffing. Leeds Elementary School runs its own program and will inform parents how to sign up.
Q: We heard great things about one of the teachers who seems like they would be a good fit for our child. Can we request that teacher?
A: We have a great team of wonderful kindergarten teachers! We are not able to accommodate individual requests for teacher placements. What can be really helpful in our planning is for parents to fill out the Parent Developmental questionnaire that is part of the K registration packet. In that you can share more information about your child’s personality, learning style, as well as name specific friends from preschool that may be good peers for your child. This helps our team (principal, early childhood teachers and special education staff) provide balanced classrooms based on special needs, learning and teaching styles, etc. If you have specific information you want to share, you can always email the principals. The classrooms are finalized during the summer and you will receive a welcome packet that will introduce you to your child’s kindergarten teacher.
Q: Is there any way I can get my child into school when he is not age eligible?
A: No, we adhere strictly to our age requirement policy (age 5 by August 31).
Kindergarten Registration Information for 2021
SUBMIT FORMS FROM MARCH 1-MARCH 12, 2021
Form and updated instructions will be posted here in the coming weeks. Due to the covid pandemic our normal in person process will be shifting. Early registration for current resident students will take place from March 1-March 19. Students currently attending Northampton Public School preschool are already registered. Resident families are strongly encouraged to register their child in March so that we can plan for the correct number of students and have space to accommodate children at their neighborhood school. Families who are moving to our district after the early registration dates will follow a different process which will be on-going throughout the summer.
TO COMPLETE FORMS
2. OPEN FILE
3. FILL IN ALL PAGES BY TABBING THROUGH EACH SECTION
4. “SAVE AS” (NOT SAVE) FILE IS PROTECTED AND CANNOT BE ‘SAVED’
5. RENAME TO YOUR CHILD’S NAME – ONCE SAVED – SIGNATURES NOT REQUIRED-TYPE IN YOUR NAME
6. SCAN YOUR DOCUMENTS AND ‘SAVE AS’
7. EMAIL TO REGISTRAR: JTOWLER@NORTHAMPTON-K12.US
REGISTRAR JENNIFER WILL CONFIRM RECEIVE AND REVIEW YOUR FILE AND ATTACHED DOCUMENTS
AND WILL FOLLOW UP WITH EACH FAMILY IN THE COMING WEEKS
Who to contact if you have questions
- Erika Frank, Early Childhood Coordinator (413) 587-1471
- Jennifer Towler, Registrar/School Choice Program Coordinator (413) 587-1328
- Bridge Street Elementary School Principal Beth Choquette (413) 587-1461
- Jackson Street Elementary School Interim Principal Lauren Brown (413) 587-1511
- Ryan Road Elementary School Principal Sarah Madden (413) 587-1560
- Leeds Elementary School Principal Christine Wenz (413) 587-1540
- Special Education Concerns Erika Frank, Early Childhood Coordinator (413) 587-1471 or Marianne Lockwood (413) 587-1457
- Bus Transportation Tammy Lieber (413) 587-1331 Ext 2
All About Kindergarten
Kindergarten is a critical year for all children—a year of transition from preschool programs or home to formal schooling. Most children arrive in kindergarten filled with curiosity, wonder, and an enthusiasm to learn about themselves, others, and the world. We see our role and responsibility as nourishing this hunger for knowledge, motivating and challenging the children, while protecting and nurturing them.
The process of learning for children at this age is as important as performance and products. When children see themselves as competent learners, they tackle challenges with confidence, and develop attitudes and dispositions that encourage their curiosity and eagerness to learn. And, as research and common sense tells us, these skills and attitudes lay a solid foundation for future academic success.
In addition to inviting children to learn and grow, we want to invite families to partner with our schools. Parents are truly their child’s first and most important teachers and we encourage your involvement in your child’s education and school!
Northampton’s kindergarten curriculum is integrated across learning domains, always keeping the development of the whole child at its core. Children learn to take risks and solve problems, develop relationships, explore new concepts, acquire academic skills and knowledge, and enhance their physical, social, and emotional competence.
To accomplish these tasks, they need sufficient time to become involved in projects and investigations to satisfy their own interests. Therefore, our kindergarten day offers a balance of child-initiated and teacher-selected activities to enhance learning.
Children benefit from our rich, multi-sensory learning environments that support different learning styles and kinds of intelligence. They are able to acquire symbolic thought as they represent their ideas and knowledge through drawing, painting, block constructions, dramatic play, speaking, and writing.
Check our Kindergarten Curriculum page for information about:
Our philosophy and mission
Tips for parents
Development of young children including social and emotional learning
Information about English Language Arts, Science, Math, Creative Arts (visual and music), History and Social Science and Physical Education
Daily activities including lunch and snack, recess, parent involvement and so much more!