In an effort to replace first-day jitters with confidence and enthusiasm, SMMUSD, together with the Santa Monica-Malibu PTA Council, Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation (SMMEF) and the City of Santa Monica, will host welcome events for parents whose four- and five-year- olds are entering kindergarten or transitional kindergarten (TK) this school year.

Each of the three events, held on August 10, 11 and 13, will offer parents of students new to SMMUSD a big picture view of the district, while also giving them the opportunity to meet their elementary school principals. PTA, SMMEF and City of Santa Monica leaders will present information on the value of parent involvement and the roles each organization plays as partners to support SMMUSD students.

“Our goal is to welcome all of our incoming TK and kindergarten parents,” Superintendent Sandra Lyon said. “And provide information about what an average kindergarten day looks like, how their child will progress through the grade levels, and what opportunities our district provides for all of our students.”

Earlier this year the City, SMMUSD and early childhood education providers developed a handbook for families as part of Santa Monica’s Cradle to Career (smC2C) Initiative Building Blocks for Kindergarten Readiness campaign. “Entering kindergarten is a big milestone for students and their families,” said Karen Ginsberg, Director of the City of Santa Monica’s Community and Cultural Services Department. “The smC2C Youth Wellbeing Report Cards underscore the need for all of us to do more to prepare our incoming kindergarten students and families. We hope the campaign, and events like these, help to calm some first-day anxiety by providing concrete advice parents can implement at home right away, like setting an early bedtime routine in the days leading up to the first day of school,” Ginsberg noted.

Monday, Aug. 10 for parents of kinder/TK students enrolled in Edison Language Academy, Grant Elementary School, John Muir Elementary School, Will Rogers Learning Community and SMASH (a K-8 school) at Will Rogers Learning Community cafeteria (2401 14th St., Santa Monica).

Tuesday, Aug. 11 for parents of kinder/TK students enrolled in Franklin Elementary School, McKinley Elementary School and Roosevelt Elementary School at Lincoln Middle School cafeteria (1501 California Ave., Santa Monica).

Thursday, Aug. 13 for parents of kinder/TK students enrolled in Juan Cabrillo Elementary School, Point Dume Marine Science School and Webster Elementary School at Juan Cabrillo Elementary School cafeteria (30237 Morning View Dr., Malibu).

All three events will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m., with light refreshments served.

These parent events are the first of their kind hosted by the district, and are planned to complement kindergarten family events hosted by many elementary school sites before the start of school each year.

“We are looking forward to engaging with our community partners to provide all students with learning and enrichment opportunities,” said Linda Greenberg, Executive Director of SMMEF, the non-profit organization that supports key academic and enrichment programs at each of the district’s 16 schools. “We are excited to welcome our new parents to that partnership.”

As a way to underscore the importance of reading in the home, the Santa Monica-Malibu PTA Council is providing a children’s book about the first day of kindergarten as a gift to parents who attend. “The PTA hopes these events help new parents to understand how valuable their involvement is to their children’s education and to feel part of the entire community that is SMMUSD,” added Rochelle Fanali, PTA Council President.

A flyer listing the dates and times can be found on the district’s homepage (www.smmusd.org) under the event section. For more information on the Cradle to Career initiative visit: www.santamonicacradletocareer.org.

School starts on Aug. 20.

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