East Hawaii News

DOE Offers Tips for Now-Mandatory Kindergarten

July 10, 2014, 12:40 PM HST
* Updated July 10, 5:54 PM
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With public school getting under way on Aug. 1, the state Department of Education is reminding parents about new requirements for kindergarten which is now mandatory in Hawaii.

Also starting this year, children must be 5 years old on or before July 31 to enter kindergarten.

That means parents of children born on or after Aug. 1, 2009 have several options, including private pre-school or state-funded pre-kindergarten classes at select schools, including eight on the Big Island.

The state announced in May that 21 pre-kindergarten classrooms will be available at 18 schools statewide. Eligible keiki must have been born between Aug. 1, 2009 and July 31, 2010 and qualify for free or reduced-price meals.

Parents whose children attended kindergarten outside of Hawaii, or at a private school in the 2013-14 school year, can discuss enrollment options with their home school.

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The DOE said despite the many possible placement scenarios, the final decision for a child’s placement will be based on the principal’s discussions among the appropriate teaching staff and parents.

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“We encourage parents to be aware of the changes and take appropriate action for their children,” schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi said in a statement. “Kindergarten is a critical time in ensuring children have a solid academic foundation.”

For more information, visit the DOE website at http://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/ and enter “kindergarten” in the white search box on the home page.

Parents can also search under “enrolling in school” to be sure they have the necessary documents to enroll their child, including birth certificate, tuberculosis clearance, a completed student health record, and proof of current address.

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