Kindergarten Enrollment Changes

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- If you are signing your child up for kindergarten soon, there are some enrollment changes that could affect your child if they have a Fall birthday. Michigan is one of just a few states in the country that does not start kindergarten in September. Over the next few years, the state will work towards that.

But, as the state works to get Michigan on the same track as the rest of the country, it could catch some kids in the middle.

Parent, Jamie Farber, is anticipating how her young son will be affected as he enters his first few years of school.

“It’s kind of a trap,” said Farber. “You’re trying to get these kids started as early as possible but all of a sudden there’s a change.”

The state of Michigan is moving back the start date for kids entering kindergarten. What used to be children turning five years old by December starting kindergarten, will eventually become turning five by September.

The process will take a couple of years, though.

Starting in 2013, children will need to be five years old by November. In 2014, five by October. And by 2015, five by September.

“Michigan is one of maybe two states with no September start date,” said Julie Neuhaus, preschool director at Mayflower Preschool. “So people move here from other areas and it’s a little more difficult.”

Neuhaus believes children will benefit by starting school older, both socially and academically.

But in the process, it could catch a lot of kids in the middle.

Such as kids who have been in preschool for several years already, but will miss the cut-off date to start kindergarten with birthdays after November first this year.

“There’s a lot of people freaking out all of a sudden because there is no place for them to go,” said Farber.

Farber said her son, who will be five this September, is signing her child up for what’s called Young Five, which acts like a bridge between preschool and kindergarten. She expects many other parents to do the same until 2015.

“It’s getting us in line with the rest of the country,” said Farber. “But, there will be some growing pains.”

Farber urges parents of children with Fall birthdays to start thinking about options now.

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  • Amie Miller

    If you look at the legislation on this, schools are supposed to make exceptions until the date is officially moved to September. So for the next two years, if you decided that you are starting your child early, talk to the school by June to let them know your intentions.

  • Happy Homeschooler

    My son turned five one day before the cutoff date several years ago and while he was emotionally and academically ready for school his fine motor skills needed more work (as is often the case with boys). We decided to homeschool him and have never looked back. Homeschooling is a wonderful option in GR to consider with many enrichment opportunities and lots of groups and support. I never saw myself as a homeschooling parent but it was one of the best decisions we have ever made. You can enroll under an umbrella school, partner with a local private school, use a complete curriculum, make up your own curriculum, or use one of the many online schools that are now available. Something to think about!

  • cheryl

    I think it is a good idea to have to cut off date to Sept. gives the kids longer to be ready but I think many parents like the kids to go earlier and earlier so they can use the school instead of paying a sitter