Ready or not, back to school time is almost here again. EdVenture Children’s Museum gave hundreds of local rising kindergartners and their families a preview and lots of fun along with it Friday night.

The museum’s annual Celebration of Countdown to Kindergarten returned in person after a virtual edition in 2020. More than 30 businesses and organizations, led by the South Carolina Dental Association, T-Mobile and SC First Steps, were on hand to help everyone get ready for the big day.

"We're just trying to make the first day easier for everyone,” said EdVenture Chief of Staff Autumn Fowler. 

Kids had a chance to practice getting on and off a real school bus, going through a lunch line, finding seats in a classroom and much more. Free backpacks and other school supplies were also available for all.

Kids’ health is also a big point of emphasis at the event and in general for all the organizations represented.

“The number one reason nowadays that kids are not in class is a tooth-related issue,” said Dr. Carol French of the SC Dental Association. “We want to prevent that.”

Masks were required for everyone over the age of 3 inside the museum, a decision made by EdVenture leaders in the interest of health and safety.

“Our main clientele is 12 and under. They're not eligible for the vaccine. We want to protect them and everyone else the best we can,” Fowler said, adding that seeing so many other kids and adults alike could be a help to those little ones who might be nervous about wearing a mask.

“When they see everyone else in one, it makes it not so scary and normal,” she said. “Eddie (the museum’s 40-foot tall model of a 10-year-old) wears a mask. The world's largest child wears one, you can too.” 

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