The state Department of Education reminds parents of the new kindergarten age requirements that take effect with the new school year that begins Aug. 1 at most schools.
Children must be 5 years old on or before July 31 to enter kindergarten; the old birthdate requirement was 5 years old by the end of year.
Also, kindergarten is now mandatory, and children who meet the age eligibility requirements for kindergarten may enroll in school anytime.
Parents of children born on or after Aug. 1, 2009, have several options, such as preschool at a private provider or pre-kindergarten classes at select schools, the department said. Earlier this year, the state's Executive Office on Early Learning announced 21 pre-kindergarten classrooms will be available at 18 schools statewide for children born on or between Aug. 1, 2009, and July 31, 2010, and who are eligible for free- and reduced-price meals. Those schools in Maui County are Hana High and Elementary, Kaunakakai Elementary and Lanai High and Elementary. Priority will be given to children born in 2009 to enroll in these pre-kindergarten classes. For more information, go to earlylearn ing.hawaii.gov/doe-eoel-prekindergarten-program/.
Parents whose children attended kindergarten outside of Hawaii or at a private school in the 2013-14 school year may discuss enrollment options with their home school. Despite the many possible placement scenarios, the final decision for a child's placement will be based on the principal's discussions with the teaching staff and parents, the department said.
"We encourage parents to be aware of the changes and take appropriate action for their children," said schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. "Kindergarten is a critical time in ensuring children have a solid academic foundation."
For more information about enrolling in kindergarten, go to the department website at hawaiipublicschools.org and enter "kindergarten" in the white search box on the home page.