Weighing Issues of Early Admission -- to Kindergarten

By Jay Mathews
Thursday, February 8, 2007

Dear Extra Credit:

Our daughter will miss the age requirement to enter kindergarten in our Fairfax County elementary school because her fifth birthday is Nov. 2.

She will have completed three years of preschool by this summer. She can read many words, write a few and is very mature socially. My wife and I feel she is more than ready to enter the school, and this opinion is backed by teachers and specialists we've talked to.

We wrote to the school, which passed us on to the county registrar, who told us that by state law our daughter absolutely cannot enter kindergarten in 2007.

Do you know whether there is any way of gaining her entry into kindergarten this year? Would you suggest having her go to a private kindergarten and then enter the public elementary in first grade? I worry that leaving her in preschool for another year will be boring for her, and that the lack of stimulation will lessen her interest in learning.

David Colvin


Many parents are faced with this problem, and it seems that you have been given some inaccurate information. Or perhaps you misunderstood.

The Virginia Code says you must enroll your child in school if she has turned 5 by Sept. 30, but does not say she cannot be enrolled if her birthday is not until Nov. 2. Local school districts can, at their discretion, enroll any child they consider ready for kindergarten if the child's birthday is Dec. 31 or before.

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