Schools brace for surge of kindergarteners in the fall

Published: Jun. 14, 2021 at 4:41 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 8:06 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Across the country and locally, school districts anticipate what will be one of the largest kindergarten classes ever as enrollment bounces back following the COVID pandemic.

Jefferson County Public Schools, New Albany Floyd County Schools, Jefferson County Public Schools, and Walden School in Louisville said they are all anticipating a bigger kindergarten class in the fall. Alison Tyler, the head of Walden School, said this year’s class will be one of its largest in the past five years.

“We’re actually having two sections of kindergarten, two teachers, and probably with an average of 10-12 students in each class,” Tyler said.

Tyler said Walden also hired an additional kindergarten teacher.

“Since COVID hit, a lot of children had stayed home doing homeschooling,” Tyler said. “Quite a few of the kids coming in for kindergarten are here because they took a gap year if you will. They are a little older as they are coming in.”

JCPS is anticipating the same.

“Families last year decided not to enroll their students first thing in kindergarten at five years old,” JCPS’ Cassie Blausey said. “The state law does require at six years old though so if you have a six-year-old that you didn’t enroll, the time is now.”

Because of poor preschool attendance, educators are also expecting many students to be less prepared than usual. Blausey advised parents or guardians of children who will turn five by August to contact the school district so they can make arrangements. Also, parents need to take the time to find out where their child is struggling and where they need to be challenged.

Tyler said Walden School will be starting the year off with assessments to see where kids are academically, socially, and emotionally.

“We do predict it will take some extra time to get everybody up to speed and continue to challenge those kids who really took off because being home was ideal for them,” Tyler said.

The best thing parents can now do is keep their kids away from screens, Tyler said. Get them back on track by taking them to the library and enrolling them in summer camp. Helping those soon-to-be kindergarteners know their numbers and letters will make a big difference.

A representative with New Albany Floyd County Schools said the district also believes parents held their kids back due to COVID. Enrollment for the district starts in July.

For more information on registering with JCPS, click here.

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