Families with children turning 5 by Sept. 1 of this year are encouraged to attend the Countdown to Kindergarten on Feb. 8 in the Westfield Middle School cafeteria at 30 W. Silver St., Westfield. The event begins at 6 p.m. but families can drop in anytime until 7:30 p.m. The snow date is Feb. 15.

“We’re really trying to get the word out,” said Christine Shea, director of assessment and accountability for Westfield schools. She said there are a couple of purposes to the event.

“One is to get as many kids who are turning 5 by Sept. 1 registered for kindergarten,” Shea said. She said parents can bring their kids with them. There will be a registration team and computers available for online registration. If they bring required documents for registration (the list is available online at, copies of them will be made at the event.

Even if families aren’t ready to register, all of the elementary school principals will be there, and families can find out which school they will go to based on their address, get information about upcoming activities, and join the mailing list.

The transportation director will also attend the event and talk all about buses, and there will be sample menus from each school to see what the food is like. Interpreters will be available for families that don’t speak English at home, and multilingual families are welcome.

“Just to make it more fun, we’ll have raffle prizes and kindergarten goodies,” Shea said, adding, “It’s very much informational. Families don’t have to register; and they will learn all about the school their child will be attending.”

The Countdown to Kindergarten is presented in collaboration with community partners, and with Westfield’s Coordinated Family and Community Engagement (CFCE) grant and coordinator Paula Hebert-Pike, who will present information on daycare options, preschools, pediatrician offices and libraries.

Families who cannot attend on Feb. 8 can still register for kindergarten by contacting the schools’ central office, but the advantage of attending the Countdown event is that everything will be in one place at the same time. Shea said early kindergarten registration also helps the district to plan for staff and transportation needs.

Attendees do not need to register in advance and can drop into the Countdown to Kindergarten at any time. For more information or questions, call 572-6439, or email Sarah Kotarski at

For translation assistance, families may call 642-9320, or email questions to Laura Surprise at