Early Entrance to Kindergarten Frequently Asked Questions
What is Early Entrance to Kindergarten?
The State of Maryland has determined that five years of age is an appropriate age to begin kindergarten. In many cases, children admitted early to school will be working in a setting with older children. To develop a positive perspective about the school experience, children should feel comfortable, competent, and confident as they learn in the classroom setting. Therefore, only children who meet rigorous admission standards will be accepted early into the kindergarten program.
To be considered for an early entrance exception in Frederick County, the child must turn five years of age between September 2 and October 16, and must exhibit advanced skills in language arts, writing, and mathematics. Information from prior experiences will be gathered to verify the child’s social and emotional maturity.
What is a typical day for a Kindergarten student?
The Frederick County Public Schools kindergarten program is based on a curriculum that promotes students’ reading, writing, and mathematics competencies and offers challenging learning experiences for all students. The rigorous instructional program includes:
- A daily reading/language arts block. During this time the students are expected to work in large group, small group and independently. They need to exhibit the maturity to follow routines and structures as well as complete work independently.
- A daily writing block. During this time students participate in whole group instruction as well as sustained independent writing time.
- A daily mathematics block. Once again, students are expected to work in large group, small group and independently.
- Regular assessments are conducted to monitor progress and plan for continued instruction.
- Science and social studies content instruction.
- Opportunities for separate instruction in art, music, information literacy, health and physical education.
- Ability to complete self-help skills such as: tying shoes, zipping jacket, taking care of personal items, function independently in the cafeteria, and manage transitions smoothly.
How do I know if my child is ready?
Children who are not age eligible must demonstrate above average performance in academics as well as social/emotional development to qualify for early admission to kindergarten. The Common Language Standards developed by the Maryland State Department of Education provide a wide list of kindergarten readiness skills.
Is Early Entrance to Kindergarten the best choice for my child?
- Kindergarten is an academically rigorous program focused on language arts and math, as well as social and emotional development.
- Young children can become anxious and stressed when expectations for their performance exceed their developmental capabilities.
- It is important to remember that a child who enters kindergarten early will be younger than his/her classmates throughout his/her academic career. This means that in high school, students will be driving and having jobs, while the child who entered kindergarten early will be too young to do these things.
- There is inconsistent, variable research that early entrance either hurts or helps children. Entering school early is a long-term decision that parents/guardians are making for their child. The potential social/emotional impact on the child as the child progresses through elementary, middle, high school, and beyond is not predictable.
- Every early entrance decision is personal to the child applying. There is no one answer; each child’s strengths and challenges must be weighed.
How do I apply?
The application process opens on March 18, 2019 and closes on May 31, 2019. All required forms must be in the Early Childhood Office by close of business on May 31, 2019.
Step 1 – Schedule a meeting with the administrator at your home school.
Step 2 – If still interested in applying, complete the application packet given to you by the school administrator following the directions on each form. This packet contains:
- Parent application
- Pre-school Teacher/Child Care Provider Screening Form
- If child has no prior school experience, the school will complete the Screening Form
Step 3 – Once the Office of Early Childhood Education has received all required forms, we will contact you to schedule the assessment.
Step 4 – The assessment will be held at the Central Office.
- It is not necessary for children to study or prepare for the early entry assessment.
- The assessment will take approximately 1 hour and will be administered by a trained examiner. All assessments are scheduled in the afternoon.
- The assessment is administered only 1 time to each child.
- The assessment includes a variety of activities that measure each child’s progress in the following domains: Reading/Language Arts, Mathematical Thinking, Personal and Social Development is also taken into consideration.
Step 5 – A decision regarding early entry will be determined in mid-June. A letter will be mailed to all families with the decision.
For the small percentage of children who are accepted into early entrance to kindergarten, there is a 45 instructional day probationary period. If there are concerns about the child’s academic progress either by the parent/guardian or by school personnel, an evaluation of progress will occur prior to the end of the probation period. The child will be expected to meet grade level expectations for Quarter 1 and will have shown academic progress since entry.
For more detailed information about the Early Entry process please refer to the Guidelines for Parents: Applying for Early Entrance to Kindergarten (provided in the packet from the school).