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Mayor Launches Second Kindergarten Countdown

Thursday July 5, 2007

School-readiness and educational events free for kids and parents
Visit our Kindergarten Countdown page to learn more! 

Mayor Jerry Abramson, surrounded by dozens of preschool students, today announced plans for the city’s second annual Kindergarten Countdown.

“Last year hundreds of kindergartners and their families attended our first event. This year, we’re building on that success by Mayor Abramson at the Kindergarten Countdownmaking the program bigger and better than ever,” Abramson said. “I know kindergarten is the start of something big and this is an effort to make sure all of our children are ahead of the game and prepared to start school in the fall.”

The school-readiness program features several educational events that are free for incoming kindergarten students and a parent or guardian. Admission to all the events requires an “I’m Going to Kindergarten” T-shirt, which is available free to incoming kindergarten students.

The shirts may be picked up starting Monday, July 9 at any of the 17 Louisville Free Public Library locations. There will be special story times for new kindergartners at the library next week that are crafted to help children enjoy reading and be better prepared to learn when they go to school.

Children wearing T-shirts and an adult will be able to tour the Kentucky Derby Museum for free on Saturday, July 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Families should arrive promptly at 9:30 a.m. to see horses work out on the track. Story time begins at 10 a.m. Families may tour the museum until 1 p.m.

Children’s groups may also attend free screenings of Walden Theater’s production of “1001 Arabian Nights.” The plays are performed on Thursdays in July through early August. Preschool groups interested in attending may call 589-0084 for a reservation.

The events culminate with the Kindergarten Countdown Fair on Wednesday, August 8 at Louisville Slugger Field from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Students and an adult will receive free admission to the Louisville Bats game that begins at 7:15 p.m.

In addition to free tickets to the baseball game, students will receive valuable information about immunizations, health screenings and skills children should know before they start kindergarten. Students will also be able to meet kindergarten teachers and tour a JCPS school bus. Local law enforcement authorities will prepare identification badges for children.

Kindergarten students are encouraged to wear their T-shirts to the Music in the Metro concert on Sunday, August 12 at Chickasaw Park. The event runs from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mayor Abramson will recognize all kindergarten students in the crowd.

A complete outline of events, kindergarten-readiness tips and recommended reading lists can be found by visiting LouisvilleKy.gov.

About 9,000 students are expected to enroll in kindergarten this year – 7,000 in the Jefferson County Public School System. Early childhood development experts say it is important for parents and children to learn what is expected of them when the school bell rings. The first day of school for Jefferson County Public School Students is August 13, 2007.

“If students enter kindergarten behind in their skills they must spend an entire school year catching up and they are always behind their peers,” Abramson said. “We want all of our children to start school prepared and ready to learn.”

Kindergarten Countdown is a partnership between the city, JCPS, Metro United Way Success By 6, the Louisville Free Public Library and the Making Connections Network. The agencies work throughout the year to increase school readiness and to educate parents and children about the transition to kindergarten.