Courtesy Methow Valley School District Cara Christensen’s kindergarten students pretended they were seeds germinating in a recent class.

Courtesy Methow Valley School District

Cara Christensen’s kindergarten students pretended they were seeds germinating in a recent class.

By Marcy Stamper

Kindergarteners and their families will find some changes for the upcoming year, including an opportunity for families to meet teachers when school starts in the fall. At these conferences, they’ll be able to set goals that will also help the school create balanced classes for incoming kindergarteners.

Parents and families will have an opportunity to learn about all these activities on Thursday (March 24) at the kindergarten round-up.

The conferences will help the district learn about students and their backgrounds and create a foundation for family involvement throughout the year, according to Methow Valley School District Superintendent Tom Venable.

Families can also enroll incoming kindergarten students in a two-day summer camp orientation in late August, which will provide time in the school before other students arrive. The camp will give kids time in the Classroom in Bloom garden and to do art projects.

At the round-up, parents will learn about the approach to kindergarten in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program and about developmental stages for kindergarten-aged children.

Teachers and other staff have been working on new teaching units as part of the district’s approach to IB. The district is currently a candidate for the IB program.

IB units place subjects in real-world contexts and encourage students to come up with their own questions so they can follow their interests and creativity.

At the round-up, families will also be able to tour the school, ask questions, register their kids for the summer camp, and set up times for the parent-teacher conferences. People are also invited to visit kindergarten classes in session this spring, but should call the school to set up a time for those visits.

In addition, parents of children ages 3 to 5 can schedule appointments during the round-up for Child Find testing, which evaluates children who may be eligible for special-education services.

Anyone curious about Methow Valley Elementary’s approach to kindergarten and how IB works in early childhood education — whether they have children entering kindergarten or not – is welcome to attend kindergarten round-up. The round-up is at 5:30 p.m. in the elementary library.

Child care is available by RSVPing in advance. For more information or to arrange for child care, contact Katharine Bill, the district’s early childhood education coordinator, at kbill@methow.org, or call 996-2186.