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July 9, 2014
School readiness camp prepares children

DANVILLE - "Approximately 150 children in Danville enter kindergarten with little or no preschool experience every year. Most of those children are at a significant disadvantage because they are not ‘reading ready' or they will struggle with the routine in a school setting," says Ann Vandervliet Stratton, Smart Beginnings Danville Pittsylvania, executive director.

To meet the needs of those children, Smart Beginnings Danville Pittsylvania in partnership with Danville Public Schools hosted a free, four week school readiness camp at Northside Preschool. Twenty-eight children and their parents will celebrate the last day of camp this week.

"Camp participants were exposed to pre-literacy and socialization activities. In other words, the children were read stories, played games and completed activities related to the stories. These activities occurred within groups of other children in a routine way. Learning to wait your turn, share and interact with others in a positive way are skills that will increase a child's confidence in school. The teachers also inspire a love of learning," adds Stratton.

"We recommend that all parents with young children headed to Kindergarten begin to practice school readiness routines. For example, wake up when your child will need to wake up to be at school and set a bed time accordingly. And, it is never too late to start reading to your child. Early exposure to letters and sounds is so important. We recommend reading to your child as often as possible. Reading is enjoyable for both parent and child," explains Lou Ann Long, principal, Northside Preschool.

A child must be five by September 30, 2014, to begin Kindergarten this fall. It is not too late to register. Parents will need the following information:

• A valid VA driver's license or other state issued photo ID
• Their child's official birth certificate (Go to the Department of Motor Vehicles, 600 Cleveland Street, Danville, VA 24541, or call 804-497-7100. The cost is $14.)
• Proof of residency (examples: a phone bill, utility bill or lease agreement)
• Current immunization record (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 which school your child will attend, call Pittsylvania County Schools at 432-2761 or Danville Public Schools at 799-6400.

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 school readiness coalitions in Virginia. For more information, call 797-8887 or email info@SmartBeginningsDP.org.