Ready or not: Here comes Kindergarten!

Starting kindergarten is one of the biggest milestones in a child’s life. Parents also anticipate the moment when their little one steps out in the real world and starts his or her academic journey. But school districts around the United States offer vastly different cut-off rates for students entering kindergarten which can cause confusion amongst the parents.



Around 32 states in the United States require the children to be 5 years old on or before September 1 in the year he or she is starting kindergarten. The schools in 11 of these states have a cutoff date between September 1 and October 15 while the state of Connecticut has a cutoff date for January
1. Schools of 7 states have given the schools an option to set their own dates. Here’s a list by states on kindergarten eligibility.

• Alabama: 5 years of age on or before September 1

• Alaska: 5 years of age before August 15

• Arizona: 5 years of age before September 1

• Arkansas:5 years on or before August 1

• California: 5 years on or before September 1

• Colorado: 5 years on or before October 1

• Connecticut: 5 years on or before January 1

• Delaware: 5 years on or before august 31

• Florida: 5 years on or before September 1

• Georgia: 5 years on or before September 1

• Hawaii: 5 years on or before July 31

• Idaho: 5 years on or before September 1

• Illinois: 5 years on or before September 1

• Indiana: 5 years on or before august 1

• Iowa: 5 years on or before September 15

• Kansas: 5 years on or before august 31

• Kentucky: 5 years on or before October 1

• Louisiana: 5 years on or before September 30

• Maine: 5 years on or before October 15

• Maryland: 5 years on or before September 1

• Massachusetts: The public schools has the option to decide the cutoff date

• Michigan: 5 years on or before September 1

• Minnesota: 5 years on or before September 1

• Mississippi: 5 years on or before September 1

• Missouri: 5 years on or before august 1

• Montana: 5 years on or before September 10

• Nebraska: 5 years on or before July 31

• Nevada: 5 years on or before September 30

• New Hemisphere: the cutoff date is decided by the individual schools

• New Jersey: the school has the option to decide the cutoff date

• New Mexico: 5 years of age before September 1

• New York: The school has the option to decide the cutoff date

• North Carolina: 5 years on or before august 31

• North Dakota: 5 years before august 1

• Ohio: local option but usually before September 30

• Oklahoma: 5 years before September 1

• Oregon: 5 years on or before September 1

• Pennsylvania: the schools option

• Rhode island: 5 years on or before September 1

• South Carolina: 5 years on or before September 1

• South Dakota: 5 years on or before September 1

• Tennessee: 5 years on or before august 15

• Texas: 5 years on or before September 1

• Utah: 5 years on or before September 1

• Vermont: local option usually between August 31 and January 1

• Virginia: 5 years on or before September 30

• Washington: 5 years on or before august 31

• West Virginia: 5 years on or before September 1

• Wisconsin: 5 years on or before September 1

• Wyoming: 5 years on or before September 15

• District of Columbia: 5 years on or before September 30



Although, the above list states the eligible dates to start kindergarten, it is not necessary that you have to enroll your child on the recommended age. Experts recommend looking beyond a child’s chronological age before enrolling a child in kindergarten.

Some things to consider are:

• Language skills
• Fine motor skills
• Ability to listen
• Motivation to learn
• Basic awareness of numbers, letters, and colors
• Interacts with children and adults

Do children perform better in school if they are held out in kindergarten?

Many parents decide to hold out their child from kindergarten even though he or she is normally developing for age and meets the state’s requirements of starting school. Especially those parents whose children are born in the second half of the year believe that being the youngest in their class would put the child at an academic advantage.

However, studies reveal that the child’s age upon starting kindergarten does not affect his or her academic abilities. The children all make a similar progress upon the end of the year. The educators also believe that children should be starting kindergarten when they are eligible as most teachers are experts at targeting the children with various development stages. But as they say, “parents know best” and no one knows your child better than you.

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