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CHCCS Hosts Pre-K/Kindergarten Kickoff at Kidzu Museum

As the May 13 workday was winding down for many local families, a battalion of CHCCS staff bustled around the Kidzu Museum at University Place, preparing for incoming Pre-K and kindergarten children and parents to attend the first annual Pre-K/Kindergarten Registration Kickoff. Outside the museum, several mascots from CHCCS elementary schools were joined by Clifford the Big Red Dog, all welcoming children to the event. The slogan for the Kickoff was, “1, 2… we are waiting for you! 3, 4, 5… school comes alive!” and for the families who attended, the joys of learning came alive throughout Kidzu for three hours.

Roz and friends at Kidzu The event was the result of months of planning by a CHCCS committee, co-led by HeadStart/Pre-K Director, Kerry Moore, and Director of Title 1 and Family and Community Engagement, Roslyn Moffitt. At Kidzu Museum, department leaders and staff from Instructional Services to Community Schools, EC and System of Care, to School Nurses and English Learners/Dual Language were on hand to answer questions and share information about their supports of all our students. Family and Community Engagement is one of the four pillars of the current CHCCS strategic plan, so a welcoming event at University Place, one of the major commercial and social hubs of Chapel Hill-Carrboro, was fitting and well-aligned with that goal of the strategic plan.

A team from Student Enrollment and IT Operations set up a station for on-site registration, so that new parents could benefit from a kind of “one stop” experience. More than 60 incoming students and their families attended the kickoff, taking advantage of the free admission to Kidzu and enjoying the physical, creative and enrichment activities available throughout the museum: climbing wall, tree house, book nook and mini-movie theater. At the loading zone behind the museum, CHCCS Transportation staff gave tours of a “real” school bus, alongside Buster the Talking School Bus, a true crowd-pleaser for children and adults alike. child at Kidzu kickoff

Sarah Morales is a school counselor at McDougle Middle School, and she brought her two children to Kidzu. “My daughter is a rising kindergartener at McDougle Elementary. She has been alternately excited and nervous (and sometimes both at the same time!) about starting kindergarten in August She absolutely loved the Kindergarten Kickoff at Kidzu! She got to meet lots of caring adults and play with her future classmates. She also really enjoyed being able to get on the school bus. It helped to calm her anxieties about what school will be like next year. As a first time CHCCS parent, I felt very welcomed, and I felt like my child's entry into CHCCS was celebrated. It was wonderful to see district and school staff meeting kids and parents on their turf (a play space!). I appreciate all of the hard work and time that went into planning the event!”

Moore said, “I am overwhelmed by the support and engagement of the entire district.  It shows the dedication of CHCCS to our youngest learners. I believe it is important to welcome first-time families in a fun and engaging way.  We did that this year and plan to continue this tradition.”

Kidzu kickoff sign in Moffitt added, “CHCCS supports family and community engagement, which is highlighted by the types of activities offered. We work extremely hard to ensure all of our families are engaged in the school community. We love our families and want to ensure success for all students. This first annual Pre-K/Kindergarten kickoff will only get bigger and better. We want to thank Kidzu, our community partner, for their commitment to this event.”