Friday, May 8, 2009

Fast Fact Friday: When do you have to enroll your child in Kindergarten?

If your child turns 5 years old on or before December 2, then in California, the school district has to accept your child into Kindergarten for that school year. Furthermore, if this applies to your child, then he or she may also be admitted to the prekindergarten summer program maintained by the district for pupils who will be enrolling in kindergarten in September.

However, this does not mean that you have to enroll your child when he or she is 5 years old. The only requirement regarding when you have to enroll your child in school is that each person between the ages of 6 and 18 is subject to "compulsory full-time education" (California Education Code section 48200). Thus, you do not have to enroll your child into school until he or she is six years old (of course, certain exceptions may apply for those parents who choose to home school their child). In fact, there is no requirement that your child has to attend Kindergarten. If a child is determined to be ready for first grade work then, at the discretion of the school administration and with parental consent, the child can be admitted directly to first grade.

So, if you are a parent of a special needs child and a part time preschool program is appropriate to meet the needs of your 5 year old and the typical Kindergarten program is not, then continuing in the preschool program for an additional year should be discussed by the IEP team.

Additional Information:
To learn when an exception can be made that permits your child to enter Kindergarten younger than 5 years old, click here.

For more information on Kindergarten requirements in California, click here.

For more information on the "Kindergarten Readiness Pilot Program," click here.

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