Welcome to the wonderful world of school

Starting school or leaving a familiar preschool for elementary school can be a daunting experience for kids and parents.

Children who will be five years of age on or before September 1 may begin kindergarten in Shelby County Schools when the school year begins next August. At Valley Elementary School in Pelham, kindergarten registration will be Tuesday, April 7 from noon to 6 p.m. and Wednesday, April 8 from 7 to 11 a.m.

Parents enrolling a child at Valley Elementary, should know the following things. First of all, do not park in the lane closest to the school. This first lane is the bus lane and you must never park or attempt to drop off or pick up a child in that lane. If you forget this directive and venture into the bus lane — you’ve branded yourself a rookie parent. Buy yourself a beanie and wear it in carpool for the rest of the year — or you could just borrow the beanie I earned.

Secondly, purchase your child’s school supplies from the PTO. Doing so ensures he or she will have everything on the teacher’s list. Making this purchase in April keeps you out of the school supplies aisles in August. One mom told me she failed to buy her child’s supplies through the PTO once.

“I’ll never let that happen again,” this mom confessed. “I shopped for a two-pocket, yellow folder forever!”

Finally, please make the school donation. Donations help pay the salaries of many key support employees in the school. The school nurse and office personnel are invaluable. Nothing is wasted in school, and teachers spend more personal funds than you could imagine.

Sylvia Traynham, a veteran kindergarten teacher, reminds parents that spring is the perfect time to reinforce skills kindergarteners should have.

“Spend time talking with and reading to children daily,” Traynham said. “Give kids responsibilities and encourage the independence that they will need in the school setting.”

Mrs. Traynham was my children’s amazing kindergarten teacher, but all of the kindergarten teachers at Valley are dedicated teaching professionals. They include people I went to school with, people I’ve taught, and people whose children I’ve taught. While visiting with Mrs. Traynham, I asked why she was still teaching when she could be retired.

“My passion is teaching,” she said. “I love the kids, and I love watching them learn.”

For registration information, visit the Shelby County Schools website at http://www.shelbyboe.k12.al.us. Under the Parent Resources heading, click on Forms-Registration and then click on the link beside your school.