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Westside registration open for Fab Fours

Westside Elementary School announced that it has begun registration for its Fabulous Fours program, which provides an educational opportunity to 4-year-olds and helps prepare them for kindergarten. The program is in its fifth year at Westside.

“We strive for independence and getting them ready for kindergarten,” said Amy Hasty, one of the Fabulous Fours teachers. “We want to prepare them to be a confident kindergartener when they leave here, academically and socially.”

Hasty said there was a noticeable difference between the Fabulous Fours students and those who did not participate in the program.

“They’ve done better on their test scores,” she said. “We haven’t really tracked them, but I have informally tracked them. Most of our students are at the high end of the state tests.”

“What we see is that the students who come through the Fabulous Fours program have a year of readiness under their belts,” said WES principal Connie Brown. “They are used to the school environment. They know how to line up. They learn to sit and listen.”

Hasty, a longtime kindergarten teacher before joining the Fabulous Fours program, knows what to prepare the 4-year-olds for.

“It’s very playful; they don’t even know they’re learning,” she said, “but they’re learning a lot. It’s learning through fun.

“I may have them on the floor with some picture cards, and that’s part of the state testing, where they have to do initial sounds, where they point and the student has to know what something starts with.”

“Anybody who has a Fabulous Fours student in their classroom gets excited because they are usually leaders,” Brown said.

The Fabulous Fours program is not federally funded, so parents have to pay a monthly fee for their children to take part.

“We don’t make any money,” Hasty said. “By the time we pay off all the expenses, we don’t make a bit of money. The local school board funds us for anything we need. We are hoping for (federal funding) one day, to reach everybody, but we would have to have the space available.”

Registration day for the Fabulous Fours program will be on Friday, March 6, from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. The program only takes the first 30 registrants on a first come, first served basis, and Hasty said she has seen parents line up at the school door from 9 p.m. the night before registration to get in line.

“Once the slots are filled, they go on and accept everyone and put them on a waiting list,” Brown said.

Registration packets are currently available at Westside Elementary at the reception desk.

“They need to complete it and have it ready by March 6,” Brown said. “It tells what they will need to bring with them, like the child’s birth certificate and Social Security card.”

There is a $50 registration fee and a $260 monthly fee for the program. Children may also participate in the Extended Day program from 3 to 5:15 p.m. for $6 a day.