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Summit County program will help get kids ready for kindergarten

By Dave Scott
Beacon Journal staff writer

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They might have different reasons, but parents and young children share apprehensions about the first days of school coming later this month.

For the parents, it could be concerns they might not have done everything to get their child ready. For the child, it could be the fear of uncertainty.

Several Summit County organizations are teaming up to give peace of mind about all of those issues.

Summit Kids Month, originated by county Executive Russ Pry, will focus on different needs throughout August. The highlight of the first week will be a Kindergarten Readiness Fair from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday at Akron-Summit County Public Library, 60 S. Main St., Akron. (Participants should use the High Street entrance.)

The emphasis will be on fun for the kids with story time, pizza, book prizes and appearances by Gilby, the Akron Public Schools’ mascot, and Paws, the library’s mascot.

Parents will receive tips for getting kids ready for school and other information. They also will receive take-home activity cards and learn about games they can use at home.

The fair comes at a time when parents of children 4 and 5 years old are making decisions about kindergarten and should be contacting schools for registration details.

This is the first year for Summit Kids Month, and some of the planning wasn’t finished until late July, said Derran K. Wimer, executive director of Summit Education Initiative.

“This is just the birthing,” Wimer said. “Next year, it will be more robust.”

Health and wellness will be the focus of WIC’s annual Breastfeeding Baby Shower, from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday at Patterson Park Community Shelter, 800 Patterson Ave., Akron.

The following week, the showcase event will be the 2013 Summit For Kids, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 17 at the John S. Knight Center, 77 E Mill St., Akron.

Infant mortality will be the focus of the fourth weekend of the month, with an appeal to clergy to address the issue from the pulpit.

Wimer said simple activities at home can make a big difference in a child’s readiness for school.

“We know that over 50 percent of being ready for kindergarten ... is being able to recognize rhyming words, being able to say rhyming words and knowing your capital letters and knowing your lower-case letters,” he said. “[Parents] can do that.”

For more information, go to www.summitcountyfirstthingsfirst.com.

Dave Scott can be reached at 330-996-3577 or davescott@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow Scott on Twitter at Davescottofakro.


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