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Early Childhood Census is available to families with preschool children

(Photo by census.gov)

◆ The census can be taken December 1 through January 26.

Parents with preschool age children from zero to five years old who live within LCSD No. 2 boundaries are being asked by the Early Childhood Coalition, that functions under the umbrella of the school district, to plan to seek out and to respond to the annual Early Childhood Census.

Links to access the census are being made available on the district website and in the Star Valley Independent beginning the first week of December.
“The Early Childhood Census begins December 1 and runs through January 26,” Emily Isaacson, Early Childhood Coalition representative, told Duke Dance in an interview on the Weekday Wake-up Tuesday morning. “It’s an annual census to gather information for children in the community from zero to five years of age before they enter Kindergarten. We use that information to plan for future programming needs within the school district and to get information out to families with young children, as well as get the contact information that the schools need for those incoming kindergartners.”

Families are encouraged to submit their responses to the census online. If, by January, parents have not submitted information online, census representatives will reach out to assist families in completing the census.

It’s valuable for the Coalition to receive the census information from every family each year so that they can find children and families and prepare school programs and facilities for incoming children. Even if families have submitted their information in the past, the coalition would like updated information with each census.

“The purpose of the Coalition is to work to unite our community to ensure that young children have the foundation that they need for future learning, behavior, and physical and emotional health,” commented Isaacson. “We have family engagements. We support some of the other early childhood events that happen within the community and within the school district. We help get information out to parents to help them as they raise their kids.”

Recently, the Coalition has received a grant to help kids transition into kindergarten.

“This grant is made possible by the Federal Wyoming Preschool Development Grant through the Wyoming Childhood Partnership via Wyoming Kids First,” explained Isaacson. “It’s called the Kindergarten Transition Planning Grant. With that grant, preschool teachers, childcare educators, kindergarten teachers and administrators are all working together, collaborating, learning, sharing ideas together, so that we can figure out what needs we need to meet. The purpose and the goal of this transition grant, and the work that we are doing, is to improve transitions into kindergarten and taking the responsibility of change off of the children [and putting it] onto the adults to figure out what we can do to help that transition go more smoothly for those kiddos. It’s been a really amazing process. We have a lot of wonderful people who really care about the education of young children in our valley, and it’s been an amazing opportunity to work with them.”

Parents with past, current or future kindergartners are also invited to respond to a survey about their students’ experiences with transitioning to kindergarten. The Coalition wants to know how families and children feel about the experience, what their thoughts and fears are, and what they would like to see happen with the kindergarten transition. Parents can lend insight to helping the district make students more comfortable with that transition.
Survey information is available through kindergarten teachers, preschool providers and childcare providers. Isaacson is also happy to assist families interested in taking the survey.

To further support parents, the coalition provides the Parents as Teachers Program, which is a home visiting program. Isaacson visits families who have preschool age children to educate and support parents in recognizing developmental stages of their children.

“I work with parents of children from prenatal through five years old,” added Isaacson. “I help parents understand more about the development of their child so they can capitalize on their child’s development so they can be their child’s best first teacher, because that’s what we are – we are our children’s first teacher.”

For more information about the coalition, census, survey or the Parents as Teachers Program, contact Isaacson at 307-885-7129.

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