New event sheds light on kindergarten process

WESTFIELD-The first days of kindergarten can be a stressful time for children, so a new citywide free event aims to address questions parents may have.

On April 11, representatives of Westfield Coordinated Family Community Engagement (CFCE), in collaboration with the Westfield Public Schools, will present a new event titled “1! 2! 3! Countdown to Kindergarten” from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Westfield.

Paula Hebert-Pike, grant coordinator for the CFCE, has been working diligently with principals and community partners to organize the evening.

“Parents will have an opportunity to learn which school their child will attend,” said Hebert-Pike, adding that parents will also have the opportunity to meet their child’s principal.

Hebert-Pike noted that parents can ask questions on the registration process, transportation, school lunches, and required documentation.

“Community partners can answer questions on a variety of topics including before and after school care, summer programs, parents rights in regard to their special needs child, and how to apply for a child care voucher or subsidy,” she added.

This is the first time Westfield has conducted a large scale kindergarten transition event, according to Hebert-Pike.

“This type of event has been successful in other communities and the Westfield CFCE Advisory Council felt it would be beneficial to Westfield families,” said Hebert-Pike.

Joining elementary school principals for the event include a representative from food services with a sample menu, as well as persons representing Title 1, Volunteers in Public Schools, and the Special Education Parent Advisory Council. Additionally, representatives from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Westfield, the YMCA of Greater Westfield, the Boys and Girls Library of the Westfield Athenaeum, the Amelia Park Children’s Museum, and the New England Farm Workers will be available to address a host of programs ranging from sports to literary events  in the community.

Hebert-Pike added that face painting, a craft table, games and puzzles, and a kindergarten themed “storywalk” event are also planned activities for the children to enjoy.

For more information, call the Westfield CFCE office at (413) 568-5242.

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