Are you about to or did you recently move to a new state, city, or school district? If your child is ready to start school, take a look at the dos and don'ts of kindergarten enrollment.
Can Your Child Start Kindergarten Immediately?
Every state has compulsory school age requirements. These include the minimum age for kindergarten entrance. Along with the state's minimums, some individual districts have age/birth date requirements. Ask your child's future school district about the elementary age cut-off date and what type of birth date documentation you need before you start the enrollment process.
What Are the Residency Requirements?
If you will enroll your child in public school, it's likely the district will require proof of residency. The specific proof of residency required depends on the district's policies. In general, parents must provide some type of formal proof. This could include a driver's license, utility bill, car registration, home lease, or home sales contract with your new address on it.
Can You Enroll Your Child Before You Move?
The answer to this question depends on the district's residency requirements, your ability to provide an accepted proof of residency, and your expected move-in date. If you will move into your new home before your child starts school and have one of the district's accepted proof of residency documents, it's possible you could enroll them before your family's moving date.
Talk to your child's future kindergarten principal before your move—especially if you don't have the required proof of residency documents yet. You aren't the first parent in this position. The principal or other school administrator can help you to better understand the enrollment process. If you can't formally enroll your child in school right now, the principal or educational staff can provide you with information to make the transition easier. This could include facts about the school, kindergarten curriculum documents, or other materials you'll need immediately after your move.
Does the School Have a Virtual Tour?
More specifically, can you see the school before your child's first day? A school tour or glimpse into the kindergarten classroom can help your young child to feel more comfortable with this major life transition. But if you won't have time in between your move date and the start of school to take an in-real-life tour, ask about the virtual options. If the school doesn't have an existing online tour, talk to the principal or teacher about sending pictures or a brief video call.