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Getting Ready for Kindergarten

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Registration for new 2017-18 Kindergarten students

Age requirement: Children must be 5 years old by September 1 in order to enroll in kindergarten. Every child who is 5 years old by September 1 must be enrolled in a kindergarten program this fall or have an approved waiver.

Countywide Kindergarten and New First Grader Registration begins the week of February 27-March 3. During this week, no appointment is required for registration. Please bring needed documents to your assigned school.

New to the area? Was your student a Kindergartener in a different district? Fill out enrollment forms and make an appointment with your child’s upcoming school →

Kindergarten teachers are prepared for children to enter school with varying abilities, strengths and needs. Each child is taught at his/her appropriate level through differentiated instruction. Learn more about what your child will learn in kindergarten.

The Year before Kindergarten

Prior to kindergarten there are many things parents can do to support their child’s transition to school. From making sure appropriate documentation is gathered, to playing and reading with and listening to their child, the year before Kindergarten is a great opportunity to develop school readiness!

Off to Kindergarten Guides

All Year

  • Play, read, listen, and talk with your child. Ask questions, explore together.
  • Provide opportunities for your child to play with other children and interact with other children in group settings.
  • Follow HCPSS Early Childhood Programs on Twitter @HCPSS_ECP and/or Facebook (Road to Kindergarten).

Fall (Sept/Oct/Nov)

  • Determine kindergarten eligibility. Children must be five years of age on or before September 1 to enter kindergarten.
  • Use our School Locator to locate the school that serves your neighborhood.
  • Point out the school to your child.
  • Become familiar with school readiness skills, behaviors, and expectations (e.g., Launch into Learning, Ready At Five).
  • Attend parent conference and any offered parent workshops at your child’s preschool program, if applicable.

Winter (Dec/Jan/Feb)

Spring (March/April/May)

  • Determine date and time for your school’s kindergarten registration. Registration kickoff is held the first week of March.
  • Register your child for kindergarten at your designated school (process begins first week of March).
  • Work with your child to develop school readiness skills.
  • Attend annual Howard County Children’s Discovery Fair.
  • Check with your school about events for parents and children entering Kindergarten.
  • Visit the HCPSS app and HCPSS News page to find ways to get connected to your school community.

Summer (June/July/August)

  • Visit your school website or the school supply page to determine supply needs. Shop together for backpack and school supplies to create excitement about starting school.
  • Attend Howard County Library System’s “Kindergarten, Here We Come!” program (registration required). Your child can climb aboard a real school bus!
  • Drive past the school to point it out to your child, play on the playground there.
  • Attend events at school prior to the start of school, such as Parent Orientation, Open House, PTA events, etc.
  • Visit the library or bookstore to find books to read about going to kindergarten. Find book suggestions via their Road to Kindergarten booklist

Additional Resources for Children Birth-5

  • Ready At Five – resources about what you can do with your child, starting at birth, to help him/her be ready to succeed in school.
  • Launch into Learning – initiative from the Howard County Early Childhood Advisory Council to help families prepare their children for school.
  • Vroom – download the Vroom mobile application and learn how daily learning activities can be both fun and exciting for you and your child.

Contact Us:

Contact the Office of Early Childhood Programs, 410-313-5693, with any additional questions.