The first day of school may seem like a long ways away, but school officials are urging parents to enroll their kindergartners as soon as possible.
Lincoln County Schools began its Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning (DIAL) screening for kindergartners Thursday at county elementaries for the upcoming year.
The screening process is designed to school staff identify student needs before the first day of school.
â€œThey go to different stations to see where they are as far as speech, language and development,â€ said Ginger Thompson, LCS early childhood coordinator.
Now until the end of May, each of the countyâ€™s 12 elementary schools will hold screenings run by kindergarten teachers and staff and health officials.
During the screening, students and parents will be able to see meet with teachers and faculty members, allowing them to become comfortable with their surroundings before Aug. 25.
â€œThen when they come on the first day the school is expecting them, they are assigned to a class and they are already familiar with the school,â€ said Thompson.
Registration for kindergarten ran from Feb. 14-March 16. Students can be enrolled, however, through the beginning of the year.
While some schools are experiencing high enrollment numbers, others are lower than past years, said Thompson.
Thompson said that some parents wait until the last minute to register their children, especially when they feel the school year is still far off.
Parents with students in school for the first time may also be unaware of what they have to do to register.
â€œThey donâ€™t realize there is a process you go through beforehand,â€ Thompson said.
Children who turn 5 on or before Oct. 16 should register for kindergarten. Parents should have a copy of their childâ€™s birth certificate and Social Security card.
Students should also have their immunizations, health assessment and vision screening completed before the start of school.
Upon enrollment, parents will receive a school system booklet with information about kindergarten, including bus schedules, principal names and school phone numbers and curriculum.
Thompson said that registering as early as possible enables the school better identify staff and classroom sizes for the first day.
Parents who donâ€™t register their child after DIAL screening at their school may participate in a screening at another school.
Those who do not participate in a screening during beforehand will be tested during staggered enrollment at the beginning of school.
Students who turn 5 after Oct. 16 are eligible for preschool. All county elementary schools, except Rock Springs and Pumpkin Center, have programs. Space is limited. Applications should be available at the schools or Central Office after Easter.
For more information about registration, or to find out what school a child will go to, visit the district Web site at www.lincoln.k12.nc.us or contact the Central Office at (704) 732-2261. by Mary Williams