Applying for Early Admission to Kindergarten
Kindergarten early admission is based on rigorous academic standardsThe State of Maryland has determined that five years of age is an appropriate age to begin kindergarten. In many cases, children admitted early to school will be working in a setting with older children. To develop a positive perspective about the school experience, children should feel comfortable, competent, and confident as they learn in the classroom setting. Therefore, only children who meet rigorous admission standards will be accepted early into the kindergarten program.
- Age: Fifth birthday falls between September 2 and October 13, inclusive. Students born on or after October 14 are not eligible for early admission under any circumstances.
- Testing and Developmental Requirements: Applicants must be assessed by an experienced early childhood educator and receive scores within a specified range. Applications require completion of developmental checklists.
- 30-Day Trial Period: Once admitted, a teacher will closely monitor the student’s progress for the first month (30 calendar days) at the school they are admitted to. The teacher’s observations during the trial period serve as the final assessment of the student’s readiness for the program.
- Admission Determined By: Office of Early Childhood Programs
Meet the requirements? Find out more about applying ↓
One testing date will be assigned to each applicant. The date, time, and location of the individualized testing will be provided to parents/guardians; rescheduling of the testing date will only occur for uncontrollable circumstances (i.e., illness). Applicants cannot be retested for any reason.
Early Admission to Kindergarten includes measures to determine each child’s mastery of Maryland Early Learning Standards in the following areas: Reading, Language and Graphomotor Skills, Mathematical Thinking, and Personal and Social Emotional Development. We recommend making sure your child gets a good night of sleep before the testing appointment and has a meal or a snack as appropriate. The testing results, along with the other application information, will be used to determine early admission to school.
Early Admission FactorsThe testing results and a child’s prior performance and experience are important to consider as decisions are being made. However, a child’s actual performance in the school’s classroom setting is a necessary part of determining if early admission is in the child’s best interest. Therefore, if a child is admitted to school, the teacher will closely monitor the child’s progress for the first month (30 calendar days) of school. The teacher’s observations of the child’s classroom performance during the trial period serve as the final assessment of the child’s readiness for the program.
Admission DisclaimerEarly admission does not guarantee that the child will be promoted to the next grade. Decisions regarding promotion of early admission kindergartners to first grade will be based on performance during the kindergarten year. Applicants denied early admission to kindergarten will not automatically be placed in HCPSS pre-K.
Applying for Early Admission to Kindergarten
Early Admission to Kindergarten for SY 2023-2024 is now closed.
Early Admission to Kindergarten for SY 2024-2025 will open on March 1, 2024.
Step 1: Application
- March 1 – April 30
Parents and/or Guardians submit Application and Developmental Checklist B to the Office of Early Childhood Programs.
Parents and/or Guardians request that preschool teacher or other adult (not related to the child) submit Developmental Checklist A to the Office of Early Childhood Programs.
All application components (online parent application, Developmental Checklist A, and Developmental Checklist B are due to the Office of Early Childhood Programs by 4PM on April 30. Partially completed applications or those received after April 30 will not be considered under any circumstances.
Step 2: Assessment
- April – June (Tentative)
Children take assessment at date, time, and location specified in the appointment letter. Appointment letters are mailed via US mail.
Step 3: Early Admission Decision
Parents and/Guardians will receive notification regarding acceptance or denial of application by the end of June. Decision letters are mailed via US mail.
- Parent(s)/Guardian(s) may appeal the decision of early admission. Appeals must be received within 10 calendar days of receipt of denial for early admission.
Students should be registered as soon as possible after receipt of acceptance letter for early admission. Please contact your assigned school to begin the process. Parents and/Guardians must provide notification of acceptance at the time of registration.
Step 4: 30-Day Trial Period
- August 28 – September 29, 2023
Teacher closely monitors child’s classroom progress during the 30-day trial period.
Step 5: After 30-Day Trial Period
Continuation after 30-day trial period decisions will be made based on teacher recommendations. If denied, students will not automatically be placed in HCPSS pre-K. In addition, early admission does not guarantee that the child will be promoted to the next grade.
- Appeals about early admission decisions can be made within 10 calendar days of receipt of denial for early admission.
- Appeals about non-continuation decisions can be made within 10 calendar days of receipt of notification of non-continuation (no later than October 9, 2023).
- Appeals may be sent via:
- Email to firstname.lastname@example.org, attn: Division of School Management and Instructional Leadership: Director of Schools; or,
- U.S. Mail to the following address:
Division of School Management and Instructional Leadership
Howard County Public School System
10910 Clarksville Pike Ellicott City, MD 21042
Attn: Director of Schools
Families New to Howard County
Families From Another State
For families who move into Howard County from another state after the April 30 application deadline, the kindergarten early admission procedures will be extended to the end of the business day one week prior to the first day of school. Please contact the Office of Early Childhood Programs for an application.
Families From Within Maryland
Families who currently reside in another Maryland county and plan to move into Howard County after the April 30 application deadline must apply within their current Maryland county. HCPSS will honor early admission decisions from other Maryland counties.