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Simple things parents and children can do together to prepare for kindergarten

As a parent of an incoming kindergartener, preparing for the first day of school starts before August 1. My five year old son completed 540 hours of instructional hours of the Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) winter program at a local childcare provider.

Enroll your child in a local summer camp

To prepare for kindergarten, my son was enrolled in the Police Athletic League of Jacksonville's (JaxPAL) summer "STEAM Camp" program for school age children. Each week, children were exposed to themed activities and curriculum that combines Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) learning. Children were also given opportunities to learn from community partners discussing fitness and asthma, swimming lessons and also attending field trips to the Jacksonville Zoo, Adventure Landing and Blizzard Beach. Although "STEAM Camp" is only six weeks, I am positive that my son will be better prepared for his transition to kindergarten soon.

Check out books from your local library

Another way, you and your child could prepare for the transition to kindergarten is to check out books from your local Jacksonville Public Library. A simple search of the word "kindergarten" of the libraries catalog compiles a list of books and DVDs that you can check out. Get started now!

Learn more about your child's public school and others in the area

As a parent, I used School Facts Jax to learn more about the kindergarten readiness rates of the public school in my area. Click here to learn more about the importance of VPK.

School Facts Jax is a great resource for parents to learn valuable information about their child's school. You could find out school grades, enrollment numbers, principal names, academic performance and school websites.

Sign up for School Facts Jax Training in August or September to learn more about public schools in your area.

Shop for school supplies together

Shopping for school supplies together is another great idea that you and your child can do to prepare for the transition to kindergarten. Most Duval County Public Schools individual websites have the school supplies list for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year available. Have your child help you locate composition notebooks, pencils, glue sticks and more as a way to build excitement!

The first day of school, August 18 is only two weeks away! There's still time for you to try at least one of the activities above to help your child get ready for their transition to school.

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Ale'ta Turner