Two of the most frequent comments we hear from parents when registering their child for kindergarten are "Where did the time go?" and "It seems like just yesterday that I was holding my newborn baby."

Getting ready for kindergarten is an important milestone. It marks the beginning of the learning opportunities that will prepare a student for college and/or career. Children starting kindergarten in the 2017-18 school year will graduate from high school in 2030.

In Ohio, kindergarten attendance is required and students who turn 5 years old on or before Sept. 30 are eligible to start.

Families who have a child with a birthday close to that Sept. 30 date often ask, "Is my child ready for kindergarten?" This question can only be answered by the parent, but here are some things to consider in making the decision about the right time for a child to begin school:

* A key component of the kindergarten experience is supporting the social and emotional development of each child. Typically, school-age children are able to work in small groups with other children, work independently on various tasks for five to seven minutes and take direction from adults in the classroom.

* Kindergarten begins a journey of high academic expectations. Kindergarten teachers will excite, motivate and challenge their students as they learn to read and write as well as work in the number system. Kindergartners also work with technology across all subject areas. While a child certainly does not need all of these skills entering kindergarten, proficiency with these skills may help families make a decision about what time may be the right time to begin the school journey. More information about the kindergarten curriculum can be found on our website, goo.gl/wTT8DF.

Kindergarten registration for the 2017-18 school year opened in February. Registration is a three-step process:

* Call your child's assigned elementary school for a registration appointment. Our school teams will be more than happy to help navigate the registration process.

* Register at the Student Enrollment Center. All the necessary paperwork can be found at www.swcsd.us under Registration/Enrollment Information.

* Attend the appropriate school's site-based family meeting in May to get answers to questions regarding kindergarten and school in general.

I'm confident that working together, we can create a learning environment to help your child transition to this new experience and be prepared for the real world when they leave us in 2030.

Brian Bowser is the executive director of elementary education for the South-Western City School District.