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February 3, 2012

DANVILLE and PITTSYLVANIA COUNTY -Danville Public Schools and Pittsylvania County Schools will begin early registration for kindergarten on March 16, 2011. 'When a parent registers a child early for kindergarten it is a sign that they are thinking about the exciting and sometime challenging transition to elementary school. There is so much that parents and caregivers can do between March and August to prepare a child for success in kindergarten,' said Ann Vandervliet Stratton, executive director, Smart Beginnings Danville Pittsylvania.
Smart Beginnings launches its 'Countdown to Kindergarten' campaign today. Several activities will take place to encourage early registration for kindergarten and to grow parents' awareness about school readiness.
• A 'Countdown to Kindergarten' event at Danville Family YMCA, 810 Main St., Saturday, March 3, 9 am -12 pm
• SBDP will ask the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors to declare March as 'School Readiness Month' on February 21, 2012 at 7 pm
• SBDP will ask Danville City Council to declare March 'School Readiness Month' on March 6 at 7 pm
• Several print and radio advertisements will run between February and March
• Smart Beginnings will distribute school readiness materials through various Danville and Pittsylvania County partners (school systems, health departments, departments of social services, Head Start, healthcare providers, private childcare providers, community outreach events and large employers)
Here is what parents or caregivers need to know:
• Elementary schools are special places and the teachers are excited to welcome you.
• Children who register on Friday, March 16 at a Pittsylvania County School or City of Danville public school will receive a bag of school readiness materials and a healthy snack from Smart Beginnings.
• If you don't register on March 16, it's not too late. It may be helpful to call and make an appointment to register.
• A child must be five by September 30, 2012 to register for kindergarten.
Parents need to bring:
• A valid driver's license or other state issued photo ID.
• The child's official birth certificate. It takes 6-8 weeks to order one. For more information call (804) 662-6200 or visit www.virginiabirthcertificate.com. The cost is $12.
• Proof of residency (examples: a phone bill or lease agreement)
• Current immunization record (shots must be up to date). Make an appointment with your doctor or call the Health Department in Danville at 799-5190 or in Chatham at 432-7232.
• If you are not sure what school your child will attend, call Pittsylvania County Schools at 432-2761 if you live in the County. Call Danville Public Schools at 799-6400 if you live in the City.
'When children register early for school, it also helps school administrators to plan for the next year and to be prepared to meet the individual needs of your child,' adds Ann Vandervliet Stratton, executive director, Smart Beginnings Danville Pittsylvania. 'And, if the family has enough time to start talking about and preparing a child for a smooth transition to big school it is less stressful,' she adds.
Tips for parents:
• Schedule a visit or tour of your child's elementary school.
• Practice waking up and going to bed at the same time every day.
• Read a book together every day.
• If your child has not been around other children, go to a playground and let him or her spend time with other kids.
• Go to your doctor for routine wellness check.
• If you suspect that your child is somehow "different" than other children. The way he or she speaks or acts, tell your doctor about it right away. Many developmental delays, if treated early, can be corrected.
• Even if you experienced difficulty in school, try to focus on positive aspects (an opportunity to make new friends, have fun and learn about the world)

The mission of Smart Beginnings is to ensure that all children are ready for success in school and in life. Smart Beginnings Danville Pittsylvania is one of twenty nine coalitions in VA. For more information on either the VSQI or Smart Beginnings, call 797-8887 or email info@SmartBeginningsDP.org.
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