PINELLAS PARK — The Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County (JWB) launched Kindergarten Counts as part of their campaign for grade-level reading called Early Readers, Future Leaders Fri., Sept. 18 at Skyview Elementary School.
The campaign is focused on ensuring children are reading on grade-level by third grade, and school attendance is one factor associated with this important milestone.
Good school attendance is an indicator of future success, such as reading on grade level by third grade and graduating from high school. This year’s kindergarten students belong to the Graduating Class of 2028. In order to graduate on time and walk across the stage in 2028, it is important that today’s kindergarteners form the habit of good school attendance early.
Studies show that school absences tend to be high in kindergarten, decline steadily during the early elementary years, and then rise again as children approach middle school. Given this, JWB partnered with Pinellas County Schools to launch Kindergarten Counts in the month of September during National Attendance Awareness Month.
JWB created a coloring book titled Every Day Counts in Kindergarten that tells the story of how much is learned in just one week of school. These will be distributed to over 6,000 Pinellas County kindergarten students this month.
For their parents, JWB created a pledge sheet with facts and tips that stresses the importance of forming good attendance habits early—plus, a magnetic photo frame to remind parents of their pledge to send their child to kindergarten every day. In kindergarten and early elementary, it is the parent that influences a child’s attendance and helps form good attendance habits early. Part of the Kindergarten Counts initiative is to offer easy-to-remember tips for parents related to good school attendance that include:
• Know the attendance policy for your child’s school & keep a copy handy.
• Set a regular bedtime & morning routine.
• Lay out clothes & pack backpacks the night before.
• Don’t let your child stay home unless he or she is truly sick.
• Develop back up plans for getting your child to school if something comes up. Call on a neighbor, family member or another parent.
• Avoid scheduling appointments or extended trips for your child when school is in session.