SPARTANBURG COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – Many students in the Upstate have gone back to school, however, some are still getting ready.

On Friday night, rising preschoolers and kindergarteners in Spartanburg County got to experience school.

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate in Spartanburg held its annual event, “Countdown to Kindergarten”. The free event, hosted families with rising 3K, 4K and Kindergarteners.

“Our goal is for our kids and our parents and caregivers to leave the event, know just a little bit more about what’s going to happen. We have a school bus so kids can practice getting on and off a school bus. We’re going to have a lunch tray relay. We have a classroom set up so they can at least see what a classroom looks like,” said Catie Davis, Director of The Children’s Museum of the Upstate in Spartanburg. “

Davis said a Kindergarten Readiness Assessment from the state, shows 26 percent of kids in Spartanburg County are ready to enter kindergarten.

“After COVID, we’re learning that not as many kids are coming to preschool or daycare programs because parents are choosing for them to stay at home, which is completely reasonable, but the recent set of data that we got…the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment from the state, said that Spartanburg County kids are 26 percent ready for kindergarten. That means 26 percent of our kids are going into kindergarten and ready to succeed with no additional support,” Davis said. “Before the pandemic, we were in the high 40’s. So, we’re going the wrong way, but we’re going to go back up. It’s going to be fine,” she said.

It’s why the organization is doing events like this, to help prepare students. Katina Davis said she’s glad her grandson, who’s entering 3K, got to experience this.

“Not that he’s not ready, he’s probably too ready,” Katina said. “Just kind of wanted him to get used to being away from us,” she said. “Just try to get him around other kids to develop relationships,” Katina said.

When it comes to health, doctors want parents and students to stay prepared for COVID-19, as well.

“In the first waves of COVID, we saw the elderly and the people who had immunocompromised status. The next waves were our teenagers and our young adults, and now this wave seems to be affecting our young children and our infants even more. So, really just trying to keep those contacts healthy and away from sick people, can really help to keep our children safe,” said Dr. Donna Smith, Pediatrician at Medical Group of the Carolinas Pediatrics.

Smith said if your children are sick, she said it’s important to keep them at home. If your child does go to school, doctors encourage you to teach them how to be safe.

“Making sure that you’re teaching your kids to have good handwashing techniques, to a wear mask if it’s at all appropriate,” Smith said. “To make sure that your school is having good hygiene practices as well,” she said.

Organizers said overall, they just want families to know they have support and resources.

“A lot of our kindergartners, it will be the first time that they’ve ever been to school, and so some caregivers are dealing with that too and they just need to know that they’re going to a place that they are safe, that they are loved and they are going to have a great time while they’re there,” Davis said.

“It’s a good introduction to school period,” Katina said. “I am very grateful for things like this. Excited to see how he’s going to adjust,” she said.

For more information, click here.