Families encouraged to start preschool registration for 4-year-old children in Kanawha County

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Families with children at least 4-years of age are encouraged to start thinking about preschool enrollment to give their kids an early first step in education.

Preschool Enrollment Specialist for Kanawha County Schools, Johnny Ferrara, told 580 Live Tuesday morning that preschool enrollment is now open for families across Kanawha County. He said it’s also free, including free breakfast, lunch, snacks, and transportation if needed. He said children must be 4-years of age by June 30, 2023 to be eligible to register, unless they have special needs or other circumstances where the school system could provide enrollment.

While Ferrara said that the registration process used to be conducted through county-wide application fairs, the Covid-19 pandemic and the significant increase of online applications have changed the process, but he says they are ready to help families applying for preschool whether they choose to do it online or in-person.

“We are here to complete the application from beginning to end with anybody who might need our assistance, and we’re very happy to have you come here or you can do everything online,” Ferrara said.

Ferrara went on to say that, when applying in-person, people will need to bring their child’s state certified birth certificate, which cannot be obtained from the county courthouse, but from Vital Statistics located at 350 Capitol Street. He said they will also need their child’s immunization records, a current physical or the Well-Child check, which must include lead and hemoglobin results, a current dental exam, any type of documentation regarding custody or homelessness, and income verification, including a pay stub, W2, etc.

When asked the importance of preschool, Ferrara said it gives kids a major head start in many areas of their academic and social development.

“Preschool really begins the journey, where children really start building that foundation for social, pre-academic, or basic life skills, learning how to share, learning how to regulate behavior,” said Ferrara.

Ferrara added that kindergarten has become a lot more rigorous than it used to be, and now, preschool provides a unique, hands-on curriculum that will help get them get prepared.

“Our preschool-aged students, they learn by playing, and we have a curriculum called Creative Curriculum that is all hands-on,” Ferrara said. “It is not sitting kids down anymore at a small desk and having them do a color sheet, it is actual exploration.”

He said the easiest way to learn about the enrollment process is through the Kanawha County Schools website.

If families are looking to apply in-person, they can stop by the Kanawha County Board of Education Roxalana Annex at 1004 Lower Midway Drive, Dunbar. The office is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and the phone number is (304)-766-0397.