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Schools encouraged by kindergarten sign-ups

Ryan Gleich, 3, checks out a Bremerton school bus while his father, Rookie Gleich, looks on. Ryan’s older brother was signed up for all-day kindergarten at the registration fair Tuesday. - Photo by Sean Janssen
Ryan Gleich, 3, checks out a Bremerton school bus while his father, Rookie Gleich, looks on. Ryan’s older brother was signed up for all-day kindergarten at the registration fair Tuesday.
— image credit: Photo by Sean Janssen

It might be early but the all-day kindergarten registration fair for the Bremerton School District looked like a success after counting the sign-ups from Tuesday’s event.

“I’m not really sure if you can draw any conclusions from the number of registrations we took at the ... fair. We’re staying pretty busy,” said district Community Services Coordinator Krista Carlson. “We’ll just have to see how many more we get between now and when school starts. We’ll keep taking registrations. (Tuesday) was just the first day.”

Carlson noted the count was encouraging as 180 registrations were taken Tuesday compared with just 30 on the first day a year ago.

Face-painting, a bouncy inflatable house and other activities kept the kindergartners-to-be entertained while moms and dads did the requisite paperwork. There was also a school bus available for children to tour in preparation for riding the big yellow taxi to school next year.

Ryan Gleich, 3, still has a couple years to go before he’s ready for “big kid” school but hopped on board with his father, Rookie, while his brother was being signed up.

“It’s cool,” Rookie said of the event. “It’s nice and it’s welcoming, especially for parents who haven’t had to take a kid to school yet. It’s the first day (of school) for us, too.”

Ryan’s older brother is headed to Kitsap Lake Elementary next year and Dad said he’s prepared.

“Yes, he’s ready,” he said. “He’s ready for something new. He’s ready to get away from his brother.”

Families like the Gleiches can look forward to the availability of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. child care in Bremerton as the school district has teamed up with providers in the area, with many booths at the fair presenting options to parents.

Patti Sheldon of Benaich Christian Learning Center said cooperation with the district has been good through the years.

“We’re just down the hill from Crownhill (Elementary). We’ve worked pretty closely with Crownhill,” Sheldon said. “We can walk the kids down the hill to school. We’ve just tried to work with the district as best we can ... and we just try to be a support.”

Benaich offers before and after-school care for students and also full-day opportunities on off-days for the school district.

The all-day kindergarten program is available to families living or utilizing child care within Bremerton School District and also to Jackson Park residents. A limited number of out-of-district slots are available.

“I’m actually out-of-district and I’m looking forward to it if we can get in,” said Trish Strong, a mother of two. “I hope Central Kitsap starts it by the time my (other child) starts kindergarten. It will put her so far ahead.”

Madison Strong, 5, is eager to make new friends at kindergarten next year.

“Yeah,” she said. “I’m excited.”

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