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Local youth begin sign up for ‘kinder-world’

April 20, 2017 • Local News

Gone are the days when kindergarten was mainly about singing songs and drawing trees and flowers. Now, kindergarten starts a student’s primary education.
“Some of the largest growth you can see in the K-8 grades is in kindergarten,” said Dr. Arsenio Romero, assistant superintendent of instruction for the Roswell Independent School District.
According to state law, mandatory school attendance in New Mexico starts when a child turns 5 prior to Sept. 1, even if schooling is done at home, so a whole new group of Roswell youth [auth] will be hitting the books starting in early August.
Enrollment for the 2017-18 academic year for public kindergarten begins in Roswell today and will continue until the fall. Four private schools associated with churches also offer kindergarten instruction, with registration occurring now at some of them as well.
Kendra Mathison, principal of All Saints Catholic School, said the school usually has one kindergarten class each year of about 15 students.
“We have enough,” she said. “We can always take more, but our school is growing each year and we are blessed by that.”
Romero said that typically half of the school district’s kindergarten students will sign up today, giving the district a good estimate of what next year’s enrollment is likely to be. The district has about 42 kindergarten classes and 830 students, Romero said.
Educators say that today’s kindergarten is only partially fun and games. While it is the time for students to learn about classroom expectations and grow in their ability to socialize and interact with others, it also is the time when they acquire the fundamental skill for all learning, reading.
“We want them to become confident readers,” said Romero, “and to begin that process where they will have reading proficiency by third grade.”
Mathison said students receive “age-appropriate” curriculum. “At our school, we try to reach the (student) where they are individually but also start to prepare them so that they can seamlessly start first grade.”
While private schools set their own standards, public schools follow the Common Core standards. Those come with a long list of abilities students are expected to have by the end of the year.
The standards indicate that, among other skills, students should be able to recognize different types of literature; create opinion pieces or informational pieces using writing, drawings and words; recognize the function of capital letters and common punctuation; write the number one through 20; and fluently add and subtract numbers from one to five.
Occasionally students will sing and finger-paint, too.
Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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