CMS unveils videos on school readiness

When Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools classes start 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 to help 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 should start getting their kids ready for kindergarten as early as infancy, rather than wait for preschool-age years.

One of the videos, which features children telling prospective kindergarteners what to expect, has already been available for a year. Officials say it has been well-received.

“Our smallest critics are our biggest fans,” Carolyn Hazeldine, a specialist with Child Care Resources, said at a news 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 countywide kindergarten-awareness campaign. CMS is giving the videos to its schools so they can work with families.

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.

Registration for CMS pre-kindergarten programs is still open, said Ann Clark, an associate superintendent. Children must be 4 on or before Aug. 31 to qualify.

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.