Your child is entitled to attend public kindergarten for free in the United States. However, in order for your child to attend kindergarten, you have to enroll your child in school first! The school has to know about your child in order to place them in a class.
Kindergarten enrollment is the process schools and school districts go through to reach out to all kindergarten-aged students and get them enrolled in school. They need to get them enrolled so that they know how many teachers they need to hire to support the incoming kindergarten class.
Although the enrollment process can vary from one school district to the other, most follow the process described below.
Most school districts have a pre-registration program that starts somewhere around the beginning of the calendar year, between Jan-March. With the pre-registration process, you are registering either online or in-person and letting the school know that you have a child you will need to enroll in their school in the fall. Many schools offer learning packets to help prepare your child for kindergarten. The pre-registration process is basic.
After you pre-register, you will then need to go through the actual registration process. The school district may mail you the paperwork or you can pick it up. In order to register your child, you are going to need some important forms.
You will need your child's birth certificate to establish that your child is of age to start kindergarten in the fall. You will need proof of residency to show that you live within the school district you are trying to enroll your child in. Proof of residency can usually be established with bills or a rental agreement or mortgage in the parent's name.
You will also need a copy of your child's immunization records that shows your child has received age-appropriate immunizations. Know that some school districts ask that this information be notarized.
Most schools hold a Kindergarten Registration Day, where you bring in your paperwork, they check it over and make sure nothing is missing, and they register your child for school. At these registration days, the school also provides you with basic information about the school so that you understand how things such as the school day, food services, and transportation will work for the school year. If possible, try to attend this day in person, as there will be lots of resources and people available to answer your questions about the school.
If your child is approaching kindergarten age, remember you need to enroll your child in school in order for them to attend kindergarten. Call services such as Triple R Child Care to see when you can pre-register your child and when their kindergarten registration day is held.