Welcome to Ohio’s Kindergarten Home Page. We believe the kindergarten years may very well be one of the most important times in the lives of young children and their families. This critical year introduces children to the world of formal schooling and can have a lasting impression that sets the stage for future school and learning experiences.

Families have a role to ensure children are healthy and ready to participate in school, while the role of the teacher is to provide quality classroom experiences so children can develop to their full potential. Regardless of the role, we all have a responsibility to make sure the first year of school is a time of joy and excitement as children embark upon their educational journeys.

The information and resources contained in this site are designed to help families and support educators in their understanding of kindergarten in Ohio.


Does Ohio require children to attend kindergarten?
Yes. Ohio law requires children in this state go to kindergarten. Districts cannot admit a child to first grade who has not completed kindergarten unless the district has admitted the child for early entrance to first grade, which means skipping kindergarten.

At what age should my child start kindergarten?
A child must be at least 5 years old to enter kindergarten or 6 years old to enter first grade. Compulsory school age, or the minimum age in which a child must be enrolled in and attend school, is age 6. A family can choose to wait until a child turns 6 before enrolling the child in kindergarten.

How do I know if my child is old enough to enter kindergarten?
Districts choose either Aug. 1 or Sept. 30 as the date by which a child must be 5 years old to enter kindergarten. Each school district should display this information on its website or be able to provide a parent who asks with the district’s age cut-off date for kindergarten.


There are many school and program types to consider when choosing the right education option for your child. Other things to consider include open enrollment, full-day or half-day kindergarten, and scholarships. To learn more about Ohio’s education options, browse the topics listed below.


Any public or chartered nonpublic school or a daycare provider licensed under Chapter 5104 of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) can operate a kindergarten program. It is the responsibility of the school or daycare provider to ensure the kindergarten program meets the following:

1. It 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; and

2. It is determined to be developmentally appropriate.

Instruction Time and Length of School Year 

For the purpose of instruction, schools must be open for not less than 455 hours in the case of students in kindergarten unless such students are provided all-day kindergarten (ORC 3321.05). Students in all-day kindergarten shall be in attendance for 910 hours (ORC 3313.48).


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. By Nov. 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 be used for placement procedures. A parent may sign a statement that he or she does not wish to have the child screened (ORC 3313.673).

Teacher-to-Student Ratio 

The ratio of teachers to students in kindergarten through fourth grade on a school districtwide basis shall be at least one full-time equivalent classroom teacher per 25 students in the regular student population. Said ratio shall be calculated in accordance with sections 3317.02 and 3317.023 of the Revised Code (ORC 3301-35-05).

Kindergarten Transfers

After a child has been admitted to kindergarten in a school district or chartered nonpublic school, no school district or board of education to which the child transfers shall deny admission based on the child's age. This does not apply to students who were home-schooled or students who attended non-chartered, non-tax-supported schools. For these students, the new school district will determine what grade to place the student in.

Kindergarten Survey Results

Ohio law requires the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce to collect “Beginning of the Year Student Data” for all public school districts on an annual basis regarding kindergarten enrollment and fees or tuition charged for providing all-day kindergarten services. The results are published on the Department’s website on or before April 30 of each year. 

Choices on Kindergarten Entrance Date 

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. (ORC 3321.01)

Last Modified: 5/1/2024 2:24:33 PM