Kindergarten, Enrollment, and What Parents Need to Know About the Start of School

Posted on: 13 July 2021

Is this your family's first experience with kindergarten? From kindergarten enrollment to what to expect from the first few days of school, take a look at the top questions parents have about this early educational experience answered.

When Should Enroll Your Child?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors. These include the school's rules, district or state regulations, and your child. Before you start the enrollment process, you need to gather information and ask questions such as:

  • What are compulsory school attendance age minimums/maximums? Every state has compulsory school age requirements. These include the minimum age limit that schools must offer free education and the maximum age for attendance.
  • What is the elementary school's age cut-off date? This date is the last day your child can turn a specific age (typically five years old) to start school the following year. If your child's birthday is after the cut-off date, you'll need to wait until the next school year to enroll.
  • When does enrollment begin? Is it too early to enroll your child in school? Ask the school when they open enrollment to the community.

Even though your child may meet the age cut-off date requirement, you need to decide if they're ready to start school in the fall. Developmental, emotional, and behavioral factors all contribute to this decision. Talk to the school's staff, your child's pre-K teacher, or another early childhood professional who knows your child before you decide to enroll right now or wait for the next year.

What Happens After Enrollment?

You decided to enroll your child in kindergarten. Now what? To make the pre-K to elementary school transition easier for everyone:

  • Turn in all required forms. The school should supply you with a list of forms and related requirements. These may include emergency contact (parent or caregiver) information, medical/physical forms, or a vaccination list.
  • Ask about screening. Does the school require a pre-kindergarten year screening or assessment? Some schools require this type of entry screening to evaluate the child's needs and help the teachers to prepare for the next academic year.
  • Go on a tour. Take your child to their new school for a tour. If you miss or can't go to an open house or organized tour, ask if you can schedule an individualized option.
  • Talk to your child. Discuss this major transition with your child. Encourage them to ask questions and then share your own experiences from elementary school.

Continue the discussion after school starts. The first few days of kindergarten are a major change for a young child. While some children jump into the new educational environment right away, others take time to warm up. Give your child the chance to bring up questions and concerns as they navigate the start-of-school process.

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Going Back To School

After spending years away from school, I realized that I needed to get a degree if I wanted to advance at all at work. However, I was really nervous about heading back into the classroom with people that were around 30 years younger than I was. Although I was really nervous about it, I picked out my hippest outfit, gathered together some school supplies, and registered for classes. This blog is all about continuing your education, going back to school, and doing what you want to with your life for the first time. After all, you can be anything you want to be with the right education.

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