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Everything you always wanted to know about kindergarten!

Read the answers to some common questions about kindergarten and the process of transitioning from home or preschool to kindergarten.

What is the age requirement for kindergarten?

In Connecticut, children are eligible to attend kindergarten if they are five-years-old on or before January 1st.

For general information on kindergarten in Connecticut, visit Connecticut’s official State Department of Education (SDE) website using this link. You’ll find a brochure which answers some frequently asked questions about entering kindergarten, eligibility, and cut offs for different aged children.

Can I hold my child back from kindergarten if I don’t think he/she is ready?

While the compulsory age of school enrollment in Connecticut is five years of age, families of children who are five-years-old can decide not to send their children until they are six or even seven years old. Families who make this decision must go the school district and sign an option form.

While children’s kindergarten attendance at five years is up to parents, the Connecticut State Department of Education strongly encourages families to send their children to kindergarten when they are five-years-old.

  • School districts are responsible for meeting the needs of all kindergarten students regardless of their age or stage of development.
  • Children who may have special needs can be identified in kindergarten, and special education and related services like speech/language, physical, and occupational therapies can be provided free of charge.
  • Children who are learning English receive support in kindergarten to make it easier for them to learn English as a second language.
  • Children with and without special needs learn many skills in kindergarten that are the basis for their learning all the way through school including early reading instruction.

How do I register my child for kindergarten?

Families register their children for kindergarten with their local school district. Generally, school districts promote kindergarten registration widely throughout their communities. There are often community events for kindergarten orientation and registration. Districts provide families with advance knowledge of the various items of information they need to bring to registration, for example, birth certificates, proof of residency, medical forms, etc. The Health Assessment Form (HAR-3) is mandatory for kindergarten children and must have the doctor’s signature and stamp. The required immunizations, physical examinations, and developmental and health screenings are all recorded on this form.

If you are moving into a new community just before school starts or have missed the public promotion of kindergarten activities for some other reason, you can visit your school district’s web site for specific information. Take a look at one district’s web site, Registration-Windsor Public Schools. Scroll down to find kindergarten registration.

Or insert the name of your town and search: ________ public school kindergarten registration.

You can also contact your school district’s central office directly to inquire about how to register your child for kindergarten.

How do I find out if my child is eligible for free or reduced price lunch?

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Child Nutrition Programs offer free and reduced price meals and free milk for income-eligible children. The link above provides information on income eligibility requirements and how to apply.

When will I find out who my child’s teacher is?

In some districts, families will receive their child’s classroom assignment from the school district well in advance of the beginning of the school year. In other districts, this information is not available until just before school starts.

Will I get to meet my child’s teacher, see the classroom, and tour the school before my child starts kindergarten?

Some schools offer some or all of these opportunities as a part of their kindergarten orientation/registration process. If your school doesn’t provide these opportunities, you can contact them directly and request them on an individual basis.

Is it safe for my child to ride the bus?

Many kindergarteners enjoy riding the bus. They enjoy their new independence and often, they make new friends that they might not meet otherwise. Generally, teachers will make your child a bus tag that your child must wear for the first few weeks of school. The bus tag ensures that the bus driver knows your child’s stop.

If my child rides the bus, how will I know where the bus stop is and what time the bus will come?

This information is available through your school district or through the school your child will be attending.

How does lunch work?

The answers to specific questions about your child’s school day will be provided by the school or teacher.

What time does school begin and end?

The answers to specific questions about your child’s school day will be provided by the school or teacher.

Will my child have art, music, and PE? If so, how long are these special classes and how often?

The answers to specific questions about your child’s school day will be provided by the school or teacher.

Do kindergarteners have a rest time during the day?

The answers to specific questions about your child’s school day will be provided by the school or teacher.

How long is recess and when is it?

The answers to specific questions about your child’s school day will be provided by the school or teacher.

How does snack work?

The answers to specific questions about your child’s school day will be provided by the school or teacher.

Will my child learn to read in kindergarten?

Each child comes into kindergarten with different skills. Some are ready to read or reading already, while others are still developing their skills. Kindergarten is a literacy rich environment and provides endless opportunities to develop literacy skills. Literacy activities in kindergarten are set up with many open ended activities to challenge each child at whatever level he/she is learning. The goal is that every child will grow tremendously no matter what their skills at kindergarten entry and will achieve the literacy foundation that will help him/her succeed in first grade and beyond.

What is special education for 3 & 4 year olds?

Special education is individualized special instruction for young children who have been determined to have a disability. Special education and related services are available to eligible three-, four-, and five-year-old children through the local school district.

Who is eligible for special education services?

A child is eligible if he/she has a significant delay in one or more areas of development, such as learning, speaking, or playing and requires specialized instruction.

Who provides special education?

Your local school district is required by state and federal law to provide special education services for any three-, or four-, or five-year-old child who is eligible.

Where can I go for help if I have concerns about my child’s learning and development?

  • Call the Child Development Infoline at 1-800-505-7000 to access Help Me Grow, a program that provides information on child development and a variety of community resources statewide, or to find out about services available in your community.
  • You can request a free developmental screening and/or diagnostic evaluation through your local school district to determine if he/she may have a disability and may be eligible for special education and/or related services.
  • Visit the Connecticut Department of Education – Preschool Special Education web site at www.state.ct.us/sde to learn more.
  • Visit the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center (CPAC) web site, if you have questions about the special education process.
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