Oelwein Schools held a virtual kindergarten roundup May 7 that included a video teleconference with a slide show introducing faculty, academic and social benchmarks, and a walk-though of the building. Administrators directed families to preregistration forms toward the end of the teleconference, which was then posted to YouTube.

Forty people participated during the live online event, Little Husky Learning Center Principal Justin McGuinness said.

As of Monday’s Oelwein School Board meeting, 76 families have pre-registered, McGuinness said.

“We’re expecting a large class size for next year’s kindergarten,” McGuinness told the School Board.

“This is not the official registration form,” McGuinness tells families in the video. Registration will still be in the fall. Preregistering will help the school staff to determine class size, lists and staffing ratios such as how many para-educators will be needed.

“Teachers came up with skills they felt were really crucial, important for kids coming into kindergarten,” McGuinness explains in the video, introducing the benchmarks for entry. Kindergarten may be a good fit if the child speaks in sentences of five to six words, writes and recognizes the letters in his or her own name, counts to 20, recognizes basic shapes and colors, feels comfortable in groups, asks for help when needed, follows simple directions, shares with others and has both fine and large motor skills.

Otherwise they are directed to consider signing up for junior kindergarten.

By the time they leave kindergarten, students will be expected to identify each upper and lower case letter, produce the 26 main letter sounds, read 50 sight words, read stories, write words and sentences, write numbers 0-20, count to 100 by ones and 10s, recall basic addition pair sums up to five, and take apart teen numbers to ones and 10s place such as knowing 16 breaks down into 10 and six.

The pre-registration form, virtual roundup and building tour are at https://www.oelweinschools.com/kindergarten-information.

To the School Board, McGuinness thanked all the kindergarten teachers for being willing to take on the task and Superintendent Josh Ehn for doing all the technical work behind the scenes. McGuinness recorded the walk-through video of the inside and playground of Little Husky Learning Center, he says during the round-up video.

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