New kindergarten requirements begin


With public school slated to start Aug. 1, the state Department of Education is reminding parents about new kindergarten requirements. Starting this school year, children must be 5 years old on or before July 31 to enter kindergarten. Also, kindergarten is now mandatory. Children who meet the age eligibility requirements for kindergarten may enroll in school anytime.

Parents of children born on or after Aug. 1, 2009, have several options such as preschool at a private provider or pre-kindergarten classes at select schools. Earlier this year, the state’s Executive Office on Early Learning announced 21 pre-kindergarten classrooms will be available at 18 schools statewide for children born on or between Aug. 1, 2009, and July 31, 2010, and who are eligible for free- or reduced-price meals. Priority will be given to children born in 2009 to enroll in these pre-kindergarten classes. More information can be found at earlylearning.hawaii.gov/doe-eoel-prekindergarten-program.

Parents whose children attended kindergarten outside Hawaii, or at a private school in the 2013-14 school year can discuss enrollment options with their home school. Despite the many possible placement scenarios, the final decision for a child’s placement will be based on the principal’s discussions among the appropriate teaching staff and parents.

“We encourage parents to be aware of the changes and take appropriate action for their children,” said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Kindergarten is a critical time in ensuring children have a solid academic foundation.”

For more information about enrolling in kindergarten, visit hawaiipublicschools.org, and enter “kindergarten” in the white search box on the home page. Parents can also search under “enrolling in school” to be sure they have the necessary documents to enroll their child, including birth certificate, tuberculosis clearance, a completed student health record and proof of current address.