What Age for Kindergarten?

Updated on May 09, 2013
C.C. asks from Fort Worth, TX
26 answers

Hi Mamas,

My son just turned 3 in April. When should I start looking into school for him? I'd like him to go to pre-school, so would that be the next school year? Or after he turns 4? I guess I'm confused. Kindergarten starts when they are 5, right? At what age did yalls kiddos start really preparing for school?

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answers from Washington DC on

You could send him this fall, and next. That would give him 2 years of preschool in time for Kinder in Aug/Sept. 2015.



answers from Chicago on

If they are 5 by Sept 1st they should start kindergarten in my state.

So my son started pre-school, at 3.5 (he had early intervention)

More Answers



answers from Springfield on

If he just turned 3, he will probably go to kindergarten in the fall of 2015. My son had 2 years of preschool before kindergarten. The first year (the 3's) was Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 to 11:30 am. Just 2 mornings a week was good for both of us. It got him used to socializing without mom and listening to other adults who are in charge. The second year (the 4's) was Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, so 3 mornings a week. When he started kindergarten I was really nervous because it was 5 days a week and all day. But he did great!

My youngest has some developmental delays (nothing too serious, but I wanted him to have the opportunity to work on these before kindergarten). I took him to the PreK screenings for our school district. He did qualify and attended PreK this year. It's every day - either morning or afternoon - he's in the afternoon class. That's great for us, as he was done with naps last year.

I think preschool is great for kids! I'm so glad my oldest was able to attend this preschool just 2 mornings a week at first, but I was a SAHM then. I work now, so my youngest goes to daycare when he's not in school. So, school everyday was great for him.

I would begin calling a few schools and ask about their programs. Talk to other moms and ask about their experiences. You'll figure out a plan that works for you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Different schools have different cut off dates. Some use Dec. and some use Sept. Check a few you are interested in. Generally speaking they want them to be 5 before kindergarden starts. That said, I hope you don't feel pressure to "prepare" your son for school. You can do that yourself at home. Buy some workbooks and flash cards, or get fun letter and number games for your iPad. Don't get sucked in to the preschool propaganda. Sure you can teach a kid to read at 4, but is that really better than spending that time being a kid? Preschool is structured day care. They have the next 17 years to be in the classroom. Spend these "preschool" years doing fun things with your child like swim classes, gymnastics, and teaching them how to cook or garden and to learn about life from you and spend time with YOU.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

that sounds right. We started preschool when our kids were 3. They did 2 years and then started Kindergarten when they turned 5. So far so good for us :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

preschool is fun.. he should go to preschool for 3 year olds starting this sept for 2 hours 2 days a week. then 4 year old preschool when he is 4.. usually 3 days a week for 3 hours.. he will start kindergarten when he is 5. he will turn 5 in april.. and go to kinder in the fall.. most kindergarten is full day so he should be prepared for it by going to preschool for 2 years..



answers from Honolulu on

Many Preschools are year round. In my State. Thus, a child can enter Preschool at any time.
My daughter started when she was 3.
My son started when he was 4.
Because, that is when, they were ready.
But, both my kids entered Kindergarten (public school) when they were 4, then turned 5, while already in Kindergarten. This was per the State's public school cut-off dates.

You just need to... call the Preschools you like, in your area, and ask them. THEN go to each one, and do a tour with your child. To then see, which Preschool you and your child, likes. And which one you find to be "good."

Then for Kindergarten, for public school, your child would attend the Elementary school that is in your... district.
And to find out their age cut-offs for entering Kindergarten, you simply, ask them.



answers from Los Angeles on

Yes, kindergarten is for 5 year olds. So he will go in the fall of 2015. He'll be a great age.

For preschool, most kids go for two years, so your son could start this fall. My son is a May birthday, so he did a year of preschool twice a week, a year of preschool three times a week (all half days), and now is in kinder.


answers from Chicago on

My son was 4 when I put him in 1/2 days for preschool. He'll be 5 when he starts Kindergarten in the fall.

My daughter will do the same, only she'll be on full days in preschool, just due to childcare issues.

I tried my son at 3...but he just wasn't ready. Some kids are. So kind of depends on how attached your LO is, and how well he'll listen to others right now.



answers from Dallas on

It really depends on you. I sent my kids to pre-school starting at 2, b/c I felt it was good for them to socialize and to give me a bit of a break. I know people who wait until 3 or 4 to do pre-school. And though I think there are studies showing it's beneficial for children to go to pre-school before Kindergarten, it's not required.
As for age, it also depends on you. The school districts require you be 5 before Sept 1 to attend K, but many parents who have children with summer birthdays choose to wait a year before sending them to K. Our oldest's birthday is July 7 and we did not keep her back. We asked her pre-K teachers their thoughts and they felt she was ready to move on. (It helped she's a private school that starts at pre-K so the teachers knew what the expectations of K are).
You may want to go check out your local elementary school and talk with a teacher or principle there just to be "armed with information".
Good luck!


answers from Chicago on

My son started Pre School at 4 and moved into Kinder at 5. I suggest you look at your district and find out the cut off dates for Kinder and see if they offer Pre School - my son's does. My son's district allows for 3yr olds to partake in Pre School as well as 4yr olds. So, your child MAY be eligable for Pre School for the 2013/2014 school year.


answers from Norfolk on

In our district you need to be 5 yrs old on or before Sep 30th to start kindergarten.
So if you had an Oct birthday you started on the later side.
My son's birthday is end of Oct so he turned 6 after being in kindergarten for 2 months - which has worked out very well for him.
We started him in a Montessori pre-school at 3 1/2 - they required him to be potty trained in order to start and he loved it!
Many kids start pre-school at 4, too - so there's no rush.



answers from Tyler on

Hey - You have a lot of really great answers. I just want to give you one example to consider as well. My kids have both been in daycare full time (I work full time). They attended a private pre-school that rolls into an elementary school and they have an excellent PreK program (it is probably like most Kindergartens). My son's bday is in May and so he started the PreK program when he was 4. The PreK really was/is rigorous and teaches so many of the things that K teaches. I actually went and toured the public Kindergarten to see if I was going to send my son to the public K or keep him in private K. Based upon what I heard and saw about the public K, it was going to be a repeat of PreK for my son, so I left him in the priviate school. When he entered Kindergarten, he could already read, so the teacher enrolled him in the 1st grade reading program. All of this was great for my son. In the meantime, I had another baby and enrolled her in the pre-school. Out of convenience, I left my son at the private school for 1st grade as well. ALL of the kids in the 1st grade class had been at this private pre-school for several years - except for one. So, all of the kids (except for 1), had been in the three year old class together, PreK, and Kindergarten. They were well prepared for the 1st grade class at this school. But, this one child was not prepared. I heard mumblings/rumors via the other parents that he was not doing well in first grade. This school posts artwork on the halls and I started looking at the artwork. All of the kids were drawing full bodied people and this kid was drawing stick figures. There was a bday party in the fall for one of the kids and I chatted with this one child's mom. She had kept him at home for 5 years and he had attended a half day of Kindergarten and then come to this school for 1st grade. For some other programs, he might have been prepared. But for this school with a classroom of kids who had been in pre-school and PreK, he was not prepared. The class quickly outpaced him. I have no idea what happened or why, but she ended up withdrawing him before Xmas. I think she was frustrated that he could not keep up with his peers. (oh and this child was born in March. The mom told me that he was really young and that is why he wasn't doing as well as the other kids. But, my son was born in May and so they were essentially the same age. The difference, in my opinion only, was the preparation done before Kindergarten).

I think our school system will help a child that has not been pre-school prepared. But, if you want to do pre-school, I do think it is advantageous to your child. I like the suggestion of the one mom who suggested starting at 3. That allows the child to get adjusted to being away from mom and learning the rules of the system before they start buckling down and learning material. But, as others have said - it is entirely up to you and how you feel.

Please don't forget that age 3 is also the perfect time to do Mom's day out programs or 2-3 day programs, or half day programs. I do recommend full PreK at age 4.

Good luck!



answers from Miami on

My son (5 next week) started "preschool" at 3.5. Before that most places are really "daycare". He attended one year of preschool and is now in Pre-K. It's pretty academic and he is beginning to read.

I would say that it is important to have him in an organized program the year before he starts Kindergarten. Every state is different, so check on your "cut off dates" for turning 5. When we lived in NY, it was "5 on or before December 1st", but here in FL it's "5 on or before September 1st".



answers from New York on

I guess it depends on the kid. Is he ready yet? My son turns 3 in a couple of weeks. He is actually asking to go to day care now. So we are starting him in part-time day care this summer, then at 4 we will send him to preschool.



answers from Dallas on

If you're able to afford preschool then I highly recommend it. All three of my children when to pre-school when they were about 3 1/2 (they started preschool at the same time as the regular school calendar, after their 3rd birthdays). You have several options, such as going part time (2, 3 even 4 days a week) or full time. My oldest went 5 days a week but only for half days (very hard to find half-day program these days, but they are out there!). My other two children went 5 full days (they wanted full days, while my oldest was happy with just 1/2 days). We chose preschools that were not overly focused on academics -- we were more interested in developing our children's social skills, etc. But that does not mean that learning didn't happen!

Our children started Kinder when they were 5. Having the preschool background was a great help in the transition. They were already familiar with the concept of class routine, had a good social skills because they had already been socializing with other children, were great with their numbers and alphabet, etc.



answers from Dallas on

Pre-school usually starts at 3. My son went to a mother's day out program two days/5 hours when he was 2. Now he's 3-days, T-W-Th, from 9-2. Next year he'll go 4 days, then Kindergarten at 5.


answers from Chicago on

My oldest son turned 3 in January, and he started preschool in the fall. So, he had 2 full years of preschool.

My middle son turns 4 in June and will be doing just 1 year of preschool before Kindergarten.

My 3rd son turned 2 in April. He is much more social than my middle son, so I think I will do 2 years of preschool for him. He'll start when he is 3.


answers from Jacksonville on

The cut off for kindergarten in most places is in the late summer or early fall, usually close to when school starts for that year. So where I live, school starts in August, and I think the cut off date is also some date in August (it used to be Sept 1, but I'm not sure what it is anymore). That is the date that is used for assessing age for enrollment. If your child is 5 on that date, your child enters kindergarten. If your child is not 5 by the cut off date, then they would be in preschool (which is for age 4, often referred to as "K4"). Some private schools also have a "K3".

There are some parents who decide that their child isn't quite ready for kindergarten even if they make the age cut-off, though. And they hold them back to do kindergarten at age 6.

My son's birthday is in July, and he attended K4 at age 4, K5 (kindergarten) at age 5, and so on. He is now 14 and finishing 9th grade.

If your son just turned 3 in April, then he would go into a K3 (preschool) class, IF you choose to enroll him in one in a private school. Then, next year, when he is 4 (at the end of that summer, Aug/Sept of 2014) if you choose to enroll him in K4, then you can enroll him in private school K4, or see if your public school offers public K4. Some schools do so by lottery and have a limited number of spaces.



answers from Detroit on

He could do 3 year old preschool starting this fall, and then 4 year old preschool next year - which means he would be going to Kindergarten the year he turns 5, so fall of 2015.

My daughter's birthday is in August - she turned 5 this past August and started kindergarten 2 weeks later. She had 2 years of preschool prior to that, for ages 3 and 4. It's really your choice to send him to preschool or not, for 1 year, 2 years, or not at all, but personally I recommend it - to help get them used to being away from you a little and in a classroom-type setting with other kids and another adult they need to take directions from.



answers from Dallas on

It's really up to you. In Ft Worth, he'll go to kindergarten after he turns five. In our area, many moms are waiting until kids turn 6, especially boys. But that is an option you'll need to think about later.

Preschool at age 3 will be fun for him, but it is not mandatory that he go. We waited until our son was four. We just wanted him to get some prep for kindergarten and learn school expectations. We found a program that was half days three times a week. It worked great for us. We signed our daughter up for the same program starting in August.

Preschool fill up fast and now is the sign up time for classes starting the end of August.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Kids should start school when they are a full 5 years old so that they will be 17 when they become a senior and turn 18 during that school year. Otherwise you run the risk of them turning 18 as a junior and dropping out. Once they get to be a senior and can see the light at the end of the tunnel...lol...they don't drop out so much.

Check into your local school system and find out if they have any pre-school options. If your income qualify's you might be able to do Head Start in the Fall for their 3 year old program. I loved ours. I did send the kids to regular pre-K instead of the 4 year old program through Head Start though. So when he's going to be 4 during August enroll him in the public school Pre-K program at the local elementary school.


answers from Iowa City on

My current kindergartener started preschool at age 3.5. She then went to preschool at age 4 and started kindergarten at age 5. She has a June birthday.

My second child turned three this past April. She will be starting preschool this September and will start kindergarten when she is 5.

We do part time preschool - 2 days a week for 3 hours per day when they are 3 and 4 days a week for 3 hours per day when they are 4. I don't think 7+ hours of preschool is necessary. I used preschool for socialization and so that my daughter could get used to being away from home in a somewhat structured environment.



answers from New London on

Three yr old program in the Fall.
Four yr old program the following Fall.
Then, Kindegarten the yr after.
Kindergarten is VERY academic now. I would not rush putting a child into school. Years ago, kids learned a letter a week/ numbers and played. Now, kids are put into reading groups, math dittos,etc...



answers from Minneapolis on

If he just turned 3 last month then he would start kindergarten in the fall of 2015. Check with preschools to see what age he needs to start. I did not do pre-school with either of my kids and I don't think it's necessary. My kids (3rd grade & Kindergarten) are doing great in school. I think school achievements are met with parent involvement more so than if your kid went to preschool. Just my opinion.



answers from Washington DC on

Check your local laws. Here they are eligible at 5 if they are 5 before September 1. You can also request to "red shirt" a child (hold him/her back) if the child is not ready, but close to the age cut off, or you can have your child evaluated for early enrollment if you think your child IS ready and has a birthday close to that cut off. Your school district should have this information on its web page.

My DD entered preschool at 4 and will attend K at 5. Her brother was nearly 6, due to his winter birthday. If you want him to attend preschool, start looking now for fall, IMO. Many schools have an older 3s class and you might discuss early or late enrollment with them.

My DD went half days 5 days a week and really benefited from the classes. If you do go part week, I would consider asking if they'd do days together, like T-Th. We had a few kids who added W later in the year.

ETA: If your junior turns 18 and doesn't see that staying through the end of HS is a Good Thing then there are more issues than age of attendance, IMO.

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