‘Thrive at Five’: Philly school officials are urging parents to register students for kindergarten

The district says it’s important for parents to register students as soon as possible due to limited seats per school.

kids in a classroom

Kindergarten classroom (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

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The School District of Philadelphia hopes parents will begin enrolling students in their kindergarten classes sooner rather than later.

A new campaign to bolster enrollment and increase early registration for kindergarteners for the upcoming school year kicked off Monday.

Superintendent Tony B. Watlington, Sr., joined staff and teachers at Ellwood School to announce their “Thrive At Five” campaign.

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Children must be five years old by September 1 to start kindergarten in the fall.

The program encourages parents to complete their early kindergarten registrations for the 2024-2025 school year.

Zaida Alfaro spoke about her experiences as an educator with the district. Alfaro has been a teacher and administrator for 33 years, and spent the past six years as a principal at Elwood School. She says kindergarten is vital for her incoming first-time students.

“As a teacher and administrator, I have always considered Kindergarten to be paramount in our students’ early development for many reasons,” said Alfaro.

“It gives them an opportunity to begin to lay the fundamentals of cognitive, social and emotional skills.”

Parents and guardians are encouraged to register their child(ren) early, starting now through May 31.

Registration can be done through an online portal on the District’s website or in person by appointment at families’ neighborhood schools.

The District will also host Kindergarten open house events this spring, including an Open House Day on March 5 at area elementary schools and a Kindergarten Open House Week from May 13-17.

The Kindergarten Open House events allow families to become familiar with their child’s learning experiences at the schools. The district hopes it will also help them learn about the school’s expectations and ways to support their child’s learning process at home.

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“We cannot accelerate Philly if we aren’t taking care of our youngest learners, and getting them into high-quality early childhood programs is crucial,” said Watlington.

“We all play a part in helping Philadelphia’s children thrive, and now is the time to get our students registered for next school year.”

The district says it’s important for parents to register students as soon as possible due to limited seats per school. Once seats are filled, no new students will be allowed to be enrolled at that school. Each year, almost 10,000 five-year-olds enroll in the district’s kindergarten programs.

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