Presented are summaries of requirements and related information about kindergarten attendance and administration. Topics covered are curriculum, length of school year, dates by which children must be age 5 before entering kindergarten, kindergarten schedules (half-day and full-day) by county and district, and health and developmental screenings.
Choices on Kindergarten Entrance Date (H.B. 383)
Beginning with the 2001 school year, school district boards may choose to adopt either the first day of August or the thirtieth day of September as the date by which a child must be 5 years of age to be admitted to kindergarten, and 6 years of age to be admitted to first grade.
Early Entrance into Kindergarten
A parent may request early admission to kindergarten if the child turns age 5 after the district’s kindergarten entrance date (August 1/Sept. 30) and before January 1. The Ohio Department of Education recommends that districts follow their Academic Acceleration Policy for Advanced Learners in making decisions about early admission. For more information, contact:
Office for Exceptional Children, Gifted Services
Phone: (614) 752-1745
Available Reports: (Please check with local district for any recent changes)
Screening (ORC 3313.673)
By November 1 of the school year in which a child is enrolled for the first time, the child must be screened for vision, hearing, speech and communication, medical problems and any developmental disorders. If the screening reveals the possibility of potential learning needs, the district must provide further assessment. Schools must note that screenings are not intended to diagnose educational disability or to be used for placement procedures. A parent may sign a statement that they do not wish to have the child screened.
Mandatory Kindergarten (ORC 3321.01)
No school district shall admit a child to first grade that has not successfully completed kindergarten. Upon request of a parent, the requirement may be waived by the district’s pupil personnel services committee in the case of a child who is at least 6 years old by the district’s entrance date (August 1/Sept. 30) of the year of admittance and who demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the committee, that he or she possesses the social, emotional and cognitive skills necessary for first grade.
A child’s screening and assessment data cannot be used to determine eligibility to enter kindergarten. The only criterion for entrance into kindergarten is age eligibility.
Compulsory school age is age 6 on or before the district’s entrance date of the school year.
Amended Sub. H.B. 281 declares a child who attends kindergarten to be of compulsory school age for purposes of the mandatory attendance law.
Successful Completion of Kindergarten [who can operate a kindergarten] (SB140)
1. A public or chartered nonpublic school OR
2. A kindergarten program that is a.) offered by a day-care provider licensed under Chapter 5104 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC); and b. if offered after July 1, 1991, is directly taught by a teacher who holds one of the following:
- A valid certification/educator license issued under ORC Section 3319.22;
- A Montessori preprimary credential or age-appropriate diploma granted by the American Montessori Society or the Association Montessori Internationale;
- Certification for teachers in nontax-supported schools pursuant to Section 3301.07.1 of the revised code; or
- Determined to be developmentally appropriate.
Resource: Teacher Education and Licensure Standards and/or "Guidance on Early Childhood Education and Licensure Standards," which may be requested from the Ohio Department of Education's Document Resource Center at (614) 728-3471, or toll-free (877) 644-6338.
- Any district may operate all-day kindergarten. Districts with average or above average poverty rates are required to spend Disadvantaged Pupil Impact Aid (DPIA) funds for all-day kindergarten, reduced class size or safety and remediation (H.B. 770).
- Regarding the Disadvantaged Pupil Impact Aid distributed to school districts, all-day kindergarten is defined as a kindergarten class that is in session five days per week for not less than the same number of clock hours each day as for pupils in grades one through six (H.B. 282).
- If a district provides full-day kindergarten and the parent requests a half-day schedule (minimum hours), the district must accommodate the parent (ORC 3321.05).
The newly developed Academic Content Standards for kindergarten through grade 12 in the areas of English Language Arts and mathematics have been adopted by the State Board of Education and will serve as the foundation for model curricula development. Information on these and other content area standards can be accessed via the Office of Curriculum and Instruction at the ODE website (www.ode.state.oh.us).
Length of School Year
The schedule of times for kindergarten classes and length of school day for kindergarten shall be determined by the local boards of education (ORC 3321.13). Developmentally appropriate activities should comprise the kindergarten experience. Half-day programs should include the equivalent of a 2.5 hours per day for 5 days a week. Staggered start date is also defined in ORC.
Click here for a fact sheet regarding Kindergarten.