Getting 'READY' for school

Cynthia Martin is a strong believer in getting children learning at a young age.

"It's so, so important that kids begin learning before they actually begin school," said the Parenting Matters Foundation president.

So Martin decided to offer a class for Sequim parents of preschool-age children who want advice and help to get their children prepared for kindergarten.

The classes, three two-hour long sessions taught in fall, winter and spring, are made possible by a United Way grant and will be taught by Helen Haller Elementary teachers. Dr. Lilia Dodd, a community health worker with First Step Family Support Center, simultaneously will teach one of the classes in Spanish.

"We are so fortunate to have gotten this grant to make this all possible," Martin said.

The classes, called READY! For Kindergarten, began in the Kennewick School District, said First Teacher secretary Patsene Dashiell. The classes include tips on how to talk, read, sing and play with preschool-age children and also provide a box full of materials that can be used.

"Every parent gets a really nice kit," Dashiell said. "There are blocks, toys, a binder full of curriculum so parents can learn how to use the items with the kids ... there is about $200 worth of tools in that kit."

Since the three classes build on each other, Dashiell said they are looking for parents who can commit to all three sessions - the winter and spring sessions do not have specific dates as of now. To help parents, child care will be provided during the sessions, as well.

"We're very excited to be able to do this," Martin said, adding that similar classes for child care providers are in the works. "It's going to be a very neat opportunity for Sequim parents."

Who: Parenting Matters Foundation

What: READY! For Kindergarten, a program for parents

When: First session is 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21; follow-up sessions are planned for winter and spring; sessions for 2-year-old children are offered in English and for 4-year-old children are offered in English and Spanish

Where: Sequim Community School, 220 W. Alder St.

For more information: Contact Cynthia Martin at 681-2250 or Patsene Dashiell at 582-3428

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