Saturday Excel By 5 event focused on pre-kindergartners

By Chris Kieffer
Daily Journal

TUPELO – A new Lee County organization will host a weekend event designed to help young children get ready for kindergarten.

Members of Lee County’s Excel By 5 group will have an area targeted toward 3- to 5-year-olds and their parents at Saturday’s United Way Back 2 School Resource Fair. They will be set up at The Mall at Barnes Crossing from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

During that time, a group of kindergarten teachers from the Tupelo and Lee County school districts will be located at several tables where they will conduct activities with those children, showing parents what kinds of skills kids need to develop before starting kindergarten. The teachers will be located at The Children’s Wall, which is the entrance next to the Belk Home store entrance.

“This is geared toward letting parents know what they need to be working on so kids will be prepared when they enter kindergarten,” said Lee County’s Excel By 5 certification manager, Beverly Williams.

Excel By 5 is a statewide organization geared toward helping Mississippi locales better care for children during the first five years of their life. Participating communities, such as Lee County, must follow several guidelines to eventually become certified as being “early childhood friendly.”

Saturday’s activities will include alphabet, numbers, colors, shapes, sequencing and fine motor skills.

“We’ll have a hands-on activity and something they can take with them,” said Joyner Elementary kindergarten teacher Cathryn Richey.

Members of Excel By 5 have met with the group of kindergarten teachers several times to get a better idea of what children need to be prepared for school.

“They need to know a lot more, and having something like this gets the kids excited and gives the parents a head’s up on what they can be doing,” said Verona Elementary kindergarten teacher Alice Maynard.

chris.kieffer@journalinc.com