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Getting a head start on kindergarten

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Some of the children attending Sanford’s J.A. Cuddy Child Care Centre are eligible to register for the new KinderSTART program that begins on Jan. 8, 2014.

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Some of the children attending Sanford’s J.A. Cuddy Child Care Centre are eligible to register for the new KinderSTART program that begins on Jan. 8, 2014. Photo Store

Entering kindergarten can be a traumatic experience for some children, but a new program in Sanford is designed to make the transition easier.

Parents of preschool children who are four years old by Jan. 1, 2014, are invited to register their children for the KinderSTART program at J.A. Cuddy School in Sanford. The program starts on Jan. 8 and will run every Wednesday from 9 to 11:15 a.m.

Macdonald Healthy Child chairperson Shauna Hewitt said the free program has been offered in Starbuck for the past three years, and she’s pleased that the Red River Valley School Division is now funding it for Sanford families. Macdonald Healthy Child is a network of volunteers within the RM of Macdonald supporting community programs and activities for families.

"There’s a need in both communities," she said.

Hewitt said the situation in Sanford is different than in Starbuck, as many preschool children in Sanford attend J.A. Cuddy Child Care Centre. However, an assessment showed that there was still a need to help youngsters in daycare get ready to enter public school classes.

Hewitt said the KinderSTART program focuses on educational basics, such as learning numbers and letters, using a play-based philosophy. The teacher, who is trained as an early childhood educator, will also work on developing the young students’ emotional maturity in preparation for entering kindergarten in the fall.

One of Hewitt’s favourite parts of the program is the first 10 or 15 minutes of each class, when the parents are encouraged to read to their children before they leave.

"It’s one-on-one time with your child," she said.

Her ultimate goal is establishing nursery school programs in all of the communities in Macdonald.

For more information and to register for KinderSTART, call the J.A. Cuddy School at 204-736-2282.

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