TEMPERANCE - It can be an emotional moment some parents anticipate from the time their child is born: the first day of school.
Although the next school year is months away, registration for children entering kindergarten in the fall has begun across southern Michigan.
The five elementary schools in the Bedford Public Schools system already are taking applications.
As in past years, the district will kick off registering youngsters during the "kindergarten roundup" at the annual Bedford Trade Fair at the high school March 6 and 7.
"We welcome registration as soon as possible so that we can begin planning kindergarten classes for next year. The sooner the better," said Rose Nearpass, principal of Douglas Road Elementary.
Those who can't attend the trade fair can register at their local elementary school building or the district's administration office.
Because beginning school can be a traumatic experience for both parents and children that sometimes carries apprehension, Mrs. Nearpass said the schools attempt to make the process as comfortable as possible.
She said she invites parents to tour the school and meet teachers and staff when they sign up their children. Appointments are not necessary.
"We look forward to meeting the parents. We have a very strong parent-teacher association. We would like them to volunteer to help in the classroom," she said.
Open houses are held at each school for the incoming kindergarten students in the days before school begins. "They can come in and meet the principals. That makes the first day of school so much easier," Mrs. Nearpass said.
Bedford schools is among the few school districts in Monroe County to still offer half-day kindergarten. Each of the five elementaries has all-day, daily kindergarten sessions and two half-day and young-five programs.
Other school districts will begin kindergarten registration in April.
Parents of youngsters who will attend Central Elementary in Erie Township will register for kindergarten on April 14 and 15 from 5 to 7:30 p.m.
Principal Deb McCain asks parents to bring their children with them.
Summerfield Elementary in Petersburg will host a registration program on April 14 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Monroe Public Schools has set aside the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. during March 15 to March 19 at the administration office, 1275 North Macomb St.
The district extended the March 18 session to 7 p.m. to accommodate parents whose work schedules make it difficult to attend during the day.
The schools ask that parents bring the following material when they go to register:
• a certified birth certificate,
• records of immunizations,
• proof of residency.