Youngsters entering kindergarten might experience trepidation as the first day of school looms -- and so might their parents.

Whitehall City Schools' annual Little Rams Round-Up is designed to give all parties involved a taste of kindergarten in advance to cut down the jitters.

This year's event was held April 3 at Kae Avenue Elementary School.

Established four years ago, the roundup provides the first opportunity for parents to register their children for kindergarten as well as receive educational materials to better prepare students-to-be, said Chris Hardy, coordinator of elementary education for Whitehall schools.

The event offered children some fun and games, too, including face-painting.

Parents of children who are 5 years old on or before Sept. 30 this year may register them for kindergarten, Hardy said.

Registration will remain open throughout the summer, he said.

The district encourages parents to register eligible children before the district's kindergarten orientation Aug. 26.

Classes for kindergarten students begin Aug. 27 -- seven days after the start of classes for the remainder of students in the district.

Last year, 52 students registered at Little Rams Round-Up, Hardy said. It was the first year parents could register at the event.

The Little Rams Round-Up was founded four years ago when Hardy was principal at Kae Avenue Elementary School and Darrell Propst was coordinator of elementary education.

"It's a way for parents and the kids to get a jump on planning," Hardy said.

In addition to registering, parents are provided flashcards and instruction about lessons to help students become better readers, Hardy said.

Among the parents who attended Little Rams Round-Up was Sameko Whiteside, 33, and her son, 4-year-old Daamoni Long.

Whiteside said she attended the event for the first time after learning about it at Beechwood Elementary School, where her older son, Chaz, attends.

"It was great to meet (Daamoni's) teachers," said Whiteside, who herself is a teacher at Columbus City Schools' Fairwood Elementary School.

The evening hours for the event were convenient for Whiteside because she works during the day, she said.

"We saw his building, met teachers and received some materials we can use this summer," she said.

The educational material is designed to help students prepare as much as possible for the kindergarten-readiness assessment administered the first week of August, said Kelly Rivers, principal of Kae Avenue Elementary School.

About 330 kindergarten students are enrolled this year, Rivers said.