2017 EARLY ENTRANCE TO KINDERGARTEN APPLICATION GUIDELINES
The staff of the Olympia School District is pleased to work with you as you consider the very important decision of whether or not to have your child enter kindergarten early. By early, we mean that your child’s birthday falls after the state-established guideline of turning five years old by August 31st. As a district, we believe for some children whose birthdays fall between September 1st and October 31st, early entrance to kindergarten may be appropriate.
For most children, however, waiting until they are age-eligible to enter kindergarten enables them to grow and learn at a comfortable rate – not only in kindergarten but throughout their school years. We know that being the youngest in a peer group is often a disadvantage for that child, unless the child has other areas of maturity (i.e. social-emotional development) that can help compensate for being the youngest. We encourage parents to think carefully about their child’s entire school career when considering early entrance to kindergarten. This careful consideration will increase the likelihood of success for the child who is selected for early entrance. Another safe-guard is for the assessment team to collect as much information as possible and identify the factors that will determine a child’s chance for overall success.
The first step in our process is for parents to write a letter of application to the Student Support Office. After our review we will forward your letter to the Principal of your neighborhood school. You may submit your letter between March 27th and June 23rd. Below are some guidelines to consider when writing a letter of application. Please include as much information as possible when submitting your letter.
In your letter, please address the following:
- Provide a description of your child’s experience in preschool or similar group settings with other children. Please include a written recommendation from the teacher/director of your child’s preschool regarding your child’s readiness for kindergarten.
- Please describe the things you currently see your child doing that prompt you to to pursue early entrance to kindergarten.
- Describe your child’s ability for self-care including: dressing, eating, and ability to separate from you comfortably in a new situation/setting.
- Share your thoughts about age issues for your child as they go through school (i.e. too young for dating, driving, rates of physical maturity, etc.).
- Provide a description of your child’s ability to focus for structured periods of time.
- Please describe observations of your child’s ability to complete tasks.
- Please share other information you think is pertinent as to why your child should be considered for early entrance.
After reviewing your letter of application, the Student Support Office will process the applications and schedule families for the assessment, application letters will not be accepted after June 23rd, 2017.
The academic and social-emotional screening/assessment will be administered by an Early Childhood Specialist and a School Psychologist. You will be contacted by phone and/or email to schedule the assessment. We are planning to complete the assessments during the last week of June. Please be certain we have current phone numbers where you can be reached from June 23rd through June 30th.
In order for your child to do their best work, it is very important that your child feel comfortable during the screening process. We ask that parents do not say anything to their child about having to pass a test to get into kindergarten or to see if they are ‘ready’. Please do tell your child that they will have a chance to show a teacher just how much they know and that they will have a fun time getting to do a lot of different activities. Please be prepared to let your child interact with the specialist alone. Parents will be interviewed while their child is being assessed.
The cost of the assessment for early entrance to kindergarten is $200.00. Payment is expected when you arrive for the assessment.
If your child meets the eligibility criterion (75th percentile rank), you will be contacted to determine which schools you are interested in for your child. Schools will serve students in their attendance areas first. All early entrance to kindergarten placements are on a space-available basis. This means if your neighborhood school has already filled their kindergarten classrooms with registered age-appropriate children, families will be directed to register at schools in which there is space available.
Please do not sign-up on a waiting list at the school(s) that you are seeking enrollment. Where a school has space, the district will call the parent/legal guardian if the child can be granted enrollment. Often we will not know, and therefore not call, until the end of the first week of school. If space is available, resident children of the Olympia School District will be offered space.
We look forward to working with you. If you have additional questions regarding this process, please contact the Student Support Office at 360-596-7530.