Now is the time of year when Northeast Ohio families look hopefully toward spring when the young people in their lives can get back outside for sunshine and outdoor, active play.
It’s also the time of year when parents and families of children who plan to attend Kindergarten during the 2022-23 school year can begin to explore their school choice options.
Children who are 5 years old on or before September 30th are eligible to attend kindergarten and registration begins March 14. If you’d like to learn more about local schools and compare options for the right fit school that meets your family needs, click here to access our School Finder Tool.
You can also click here to request a 1-1 conversation with one of our School Quality Navigators. Many of our Navigators are parents who have been through the school choice process in Cleveland, and they can walk you through the steps and answer any questions along the way.
What can you do now to help get your child ready for kindergarten? Below are some of our favorite free resources to help ensure your child starts his/her first day of school ready to experience the joy of learning that kindergarten is meant to inspire in our youngest students.
Grow Your Home Library
The Literacy Cooperative is one of our community partners committed to helping ensure that every family has access to books and resources that open up a world of opportunities. One of the ways they do this is through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a free and unique program that mails a brand new, age-appropriate book to enrolled children every month from birth until five years of age, creating a home library of up to 60 books and instilling a love of books and family reading from an early age.
Click here to register your child for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and he/she will receive their first book 2 months after registration.
The Cleveland Kids Book Bank is also a wonderful resource for families hoping to give kids more access to books at home. In addition to events throughout the year, they also help place books for all ages at Little Free Libraries throughout Cleveland. Click here to find a Little Free Library near you!
Museum Exploration is also Education!
Studies show that exploring museums helps inspire a young child’s sense of wonder and curiosity that will prepare him/her for future learning. Children who visit museums also show improved reading and writing skills.
The Cleveland Museum of Art is always free to the public and they have areas of the museum dedicated to interactive art and expression for children. Thanks to a generous gift from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation Cleveland families can visit the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for free on Sundays with proof of residence. Click here for details and ticket reservation link. Families that do not live in Cleveland or East Cleveland that are eligible for Snap/EBT assistance can also visit for just $1.
Visit the Library: Online, By Phone or In-Person
The Cleveland Public Library system has a variety of programs to help young children engage with stories and inspire their imagination. These include virtual stories with local celebrities, in-person story times, as well as a “Dial a Story” program that allows children to explore books using their imagination by calling to hear a recording of classic children’s stories, jokes and poetry. To listen to a story, dial 216-777-6500. Summer reading challenges are also a great way to get students inspired to engage with books as they get ready to start a new school year.
To find a story time at your local library or view online virtual stories, parents and families can visit the library website.
Make Reading at Home Fun!
Twenty minutes a day is all it takes to develop a child’s key reading skills! The Cleveland Schools Book Fund website provides tips and tips for reading at home and ideas to help make the most of your child’s home library. They also have ideas for how to find reading inspiration out in nature (no books needed) and how to make sure reading time is relaxing and fun for both you and your child. Click here to visit their website.