Anne Arundel
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  Kindergarten FAQs

1. What is the mandatory kindergarten law and when did it go into effect?

The mandatory kindergarten attendance law, which went into effect July 1, 1992, establishes two requirements: a. The minimum age of compulsory school attendance is lowered to five years of age; and -- b. Children are required to attend kindergarten before entering first grade.

2. Who is affected by the law? Mandatory Kindergarten Law

All children who reside in Maryland and who will be five years old by September are affected by the mandatory kindergarten attendance law.

3. Does attendance in a private kindergarten satisfy the requirements of this law?

Yes. Attendance of age eligible children in any of the following nonpublic kindergarten educational programs satisfies the requirements of the mandatory kindergarten attendance law: a. A kindergarten educational program in a nonpublic school which holds a Certificate of Approval from the Maryland State Board of Education; b. A kindergarten educational program in a licensed child care center which holds a Certificate of Approval from the Maryland State Board of Education; or c. A kindergarten educational program in a church-exempt nonpublic school which is registered with the Maryland State Department of Education as exempt from the requirement to hold a Certificate of Approval because the Legal Authority responsible for governing and operating the school is a bonafide church organization.

4. Are there ways to satisfy the mandatory kindergarten attendance law other than by attending a public or private kindergarten?

Yes. The mandatory kindergarten attendance regulations permit age eligible kindergarten children who are not attending a public or a nonpublic kindergarten to be enrolled in either an alternative program setting or supervised home instruction.

a. Alternative Program Setting:

1. Full time in a licensed child care center;
2. Full time in a registered family day care home; or

Alternative Kindergarten Form

b. Supervised Home Instruction

Parents/guardians who home school their children must register with their local school system in order to be in compliance with home schooling regulations. Parents of students who attend Alternative Settings must register their child with Anne Arundel County Public Schools prior to the opening of school. Send the letter to the Early Childhood Office, 2644 Riva Road, Annapolis, Maryland 21401.

5. Can kindergarten attendance be deferred on the basis of maturity? 

Yes. State Board of Education regulations allow parents/guardians to submit a one- year level of maturity waiver for a kindergarten-age child if the parents believe that a delay in kindergarten attendance is in the best interest of their child. Such a child, however, must attend kindergarten the next year. For more information see question 7 or call 410-222-5441. 

6. Will enrollment of a five year old in a nonpublic nursery school at the preschool (nursery school) level for four year olds satisfy the requirements of the mandatory kindergarten attendance law? 

No. Enrollment of a five year old in a nonpublic nursery school educational program approved for four year olds and/or below does not satisfy the requirements of the mandatory kindergarten attendance law. Such a child must attend kindergarten the following year in order to be in compliance with the mandatory kindergarten requirements. 

7. What must a parent/guardian do to defer kindergarten attendance for one year? 

If a parent wishes that kindergarten attendance be deferred for one year due to the child's level of maturity, the parent must do the following: a. File a written request with the local Superintendent of Schools before the opening of the school year in which the child becomes five years old, asking that the child's attendance be delayed due to the child's level of maturity. Be sure to include child's name, address and date of birth. b. Register that child in kindergarten the following school year. 

8. When a parent or guardian believes that it is in the best interests of a child who is enrolled in kindergarten to be withdrawn, what must the parent do? 

If a parent or guardian feels that it is in the best interests of the child to be withdrawn from kindergarten, the parent or guardian may file a written request to withdraw the child from the program and delay kindergarten attendance until the following school year. 

9. May a child who will be five years old by the age of entry of a school year be enrolled in first grade? 

Anne Arundel County Public Schools have a process permitting a five-year-old child to be admitted to the first grade, upon request of a parent or guardian. Students must be admitted to kindergarten for up to 30 days while testing and observations are completed. The school team and the parent will then determine the appropriate grade placement. Anne Arundel County Public Schools regulation IFA-RA details this process.

10. May a child who is not five years old by the age of entry of a school year be enrolled in kindergarten?

Anne Arundel County Public Schools has developed guidelines to allow Early Admission to Kindergarten. The Maryland State Department of Education guidelines are designed to identify exceptional students. Children born after September 1 and before October 15 and, therefore, not age eligible for the current year’s kindergarten may be considered for early admission.

For more information call 410-222-5441 or ask your school principal.