LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It may be summer, but it's time to start thinking about kindergarten for some local children. 

Jefferson County Public Schools, the Metro United Way, and the Louisville Free Public Library hosted their annual Kingergarden Countdown event on Thursday.

Officials say children perform better in school, if they are prepared for the first day.  And they need help from their parents.  And that preparation could help bridge the gap between seeing a child succeed now and later. 

Metro United Way president and CEO Theresa Reno-Weber says, "About 50 percent of the children entering kindergarten are not ready to learn, and we can do so much better than that for them." She adds, "Because if they start kindergarten behind, we know that they are going to stay behind, and that's going to be harder for them to be on grade level in grade 3 with their reading.  It's going to be harder for them to go into high school ready and excited and make them graduate and be college ready. 

The first day of class for JCPS is August 16, 2017. And they offer a ten step plan to help families before the first day of school.  Here's that checklist: 

Children need to be 5-years-old by August 1, 2017 to register for kindergarten.  Parents can register students in person at your local school or at the JCPS LAM Building at 3409 Bishop Lane.  You can also register online.

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