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CMS unveils school readiness videos

efrazier@charlotteobserver.com

When Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools start classes later this month, thousands of incoming kindergarten students will take the critical first step toward their high school diplomas.

With that in mind, CMS and Child Care Resources Inc. on Wednesday unveiled a new video series aimed at helping parents, caregivers and teachers get kids ready for that milestone moment. The three-video series, called “Ready, Set, Go!” is presented in English and Spanish. It emphasizes that adults need to start getting children ready by stimulating their development as infants, not by waiting until they reach preschool age.

One of the videos, which features child narrators telling other prospective kindergarteners what to expect, has already been out for a year. Officials say it has been well-received by the target audience.

“Our smallest critics are our biggest fans,” said Carolyn Hazeldine, a specialist with Child Care Resources, said at a press conference Wednesday at Oaklawn Elementary School. “We're getting calls saying kids are watching the videos over and over.”

The project marks the culmination of a four-year effort by CMS and Child Care Resources, a nonprofit child care resource and referral agency, to create a county-wide kindergarten transition program. CMS is giving the videos to its schools for outreach efforts, Child Care Resources is distributing copies to child care centers and preschool programs, and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction will make the videos available to public schools across the state.

Copies of the Ready, Set, Go! series are available at the Mecklenburg County library and through Child Care Resources' Traveling Family and Teacher Resource Center. For details, or to preview the videos, visit www.ReadySetK.org.

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