Early Entrance Kindergarten
A parent may request early admission to kindergarten if the child turns five years of age after the district’s kindergarten entrance date (August 1) and before January 1. The local board of education shall determine entrance through a standardized testing program.
Children who will not yet be the proper age for entrance to kindergarten or first grade by the first day of January of the school year for which admission is requested shall also be evaluated for possible early admittance if referred by an educator within the district, a pre-school educator who knows the child, or pediatrician or psychologist who knows the child.
Early entrance to kindergarten is a subject typically addressed through gifted education. It is covered in the State of Ohio’s Model Student Acceleration Policy. According to the Ohio Revised Code (3324.01), “gifted” means students who perform or show potential for performing at remarkably high levels of accomplishment when compared to others of their age, experience, or environment and who are identified under Division (A), (B), (C), or (D) of Section 3324.03 of the Revised Code.
The Tiffin City School District considers a child eligible for entrance into kindergarten if s/he attains the age of five on or before August 1 of the year s/he applies for entrance. A child under the age of six (6) who is enrolled in kindergarten will be considered of compulsory school age.
By parental request a child may be tested for early admission to kindergarten if s/he will be five (5) years of age between August 2nd and December 31st, inclusive, and exhibit the mental, social and emotional standards established by the Tiffin City Schools Board of Education. If your child turns 5 years of age after January 1st and you believe s/he is a viable candidate for early entrance, please contact Paula Zirm, TCS Gifted Supervisor, at the Office of Gifted Education at 419-447-3358
During the 2006 school year the Tiffin City Schools Board of Education adopted the State of Ohio’s Model Student Acceleration Policy for Advanced Learners:
“A child who does not meet the age requirement for admittance to kindergarten or first grade, but who will be five or six years old, respectively, prior to January 1 of the school year in which admission is requested, shall be evaluated for early admittance in accordance with District policy upon referral by the child’s parent or guardian, an educator employed by the district, a preschool educator who knows the child or a pediatrician or psychologist who knows the child. Following an evaluation in accordance with such a referral, the Superintendent/designee decides whether to admit the child.
If a child, for whom admission to kindergarten or first grade is requested, will not be five or six years of age, respectively, prior to January 1 of the school year in which admission is requested, the child is admitted only in accordance with the District’s acceleration policy adopted under State law.”
The Early Entrance to kindergarten process shall be reviewed annually by the Early Entrance to Kindergarten Committee. The District early entrance to kindergarten board policy can be found here.
Early entrance should be viewed as a means of meeting a child’s needs. The key to determining whether or not early entrance is appropriate is developmental readiness. Even though a child may have a lot of ability, s/he may not be ready for kindergarten. Social maturity, personal development, and motor development are important factors for a child’s success in school.
Early entrance is designed for the exceptional child who is both academically ready as well as developmentally mature when compared to others his or her chronological age. This opportunity is designed as a measure to meet individual differences in school readiness.
Some considerations when determining if early entrance is right for a child:
- Is my child capable of working in a classroom setting with children who are one year older than him or her?
- Will my child be frustrated by this placement?
- What are the possible long-term impacts for my child as s/he progresses through elementary, middle and high school (e.g., beginning college at a younger age).
- Early entrance is not designed as a replacement for child care. Is this a need or a want?
- Do I understand the expectations for students in kindergarten today?
There is a difference between ability and achievement. Some children may appear exceptional simply because of their access to opportunities (e.g., preschool programs, parents working with them on skills, or access to learning materials). Early entrance is designed for the child who not only has ability but easily achieves when presented new material.
Once the decision has been made for early entrance, the choice is difficult to reverse. If a child is evaluated as a good candidate for early entrance to kindergarten, it is important that all stakeholders are supportive of the decision.
Kindergarten, like many other areas of education, has changed considerably over the past couple of decades. Today’s kindergarten students are engaged in a rigorous instructional program.
Parents can easily access the Early Learning Content Standards as well as the subject specific Academic Content Standards for English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies on the Ohio Department of Education website.
The Ohio Department of Education’s website contains useful information about kindergarten, in particular, the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment for Literacy (KRA-L). There is a family guide on the Early Learning and School Readiness (ELSR) link about the KRA-L, which all kindergarten students will take within the first six weeks of school.
Kindergarten in the Tiffin City School District is a full-day program. Currently we have eight sections of kindergarten from approximately 8:15 a.m. until 2:45 p.m. Students are expected to participate in the academic program throughout the day.
To do well in school, children need to be supported and nurtured in all areas of development. It is also important that your child is physically, socially and emotionally ready for school. This checklist can help serve as your guide. But please remember, young children change so fast. If they cannot do something this week, you may see them do it a couple of weeks later.
Does your child…
- enjoy outdoor play such as running, jumping, and climbing;
- draw and trace basic shapes;
- cut with scissors;
- bounce a ball;
- ride a tricycle?
Health and Safety Needs
Has your child…
- had required shots (or provide a signed waiver);
- had a dental exam;
- had a vision exam;
- learned own first and last name;
- learned first and last name of parent;
- learned to watch for cars when crossing the street;
- learned to not talk to strangers;
- developed a set routine for going to bed;
- learned to follow safety rules?
Without your help, can your child…
- use the bathroom;
- wash hands;
- brush teeth;
- use tissue to blow nose;
- button and zip up shirts and pants;
- put on and take off coat;
- tie and/or use velcro shoes?
Social and Emotional Skills
Does your child…
- play well with other children;
- separate from a parent without being upset;
- share with other children;
- care about the feelings of others;
- follow routines;
- put toys away when asked?
If you believe that your child may be a good candidate for early entrance, please put your request for early entrance in writing to the building principal no later than the last week of May in the year for which admission is being requested. The principal interviews the parent(s) and child and arranges for testing. The child’s mental age should be between 14 and 16 months above his/her chronological age as determined by standardized tests. The child’s I.Q. should be at least 125 on a deviation scale as determined by standardized testing.
An observation by a district representative (elementary guidance counselor and/or school psychologist) in a preschool setting may need to be scheduled for your child. Parents will be contacted if this observation is needed. While some children may be cognitively ready for kindergarten, they may not be developmentally ready. This additional information may be needed to assess the social and emotional skills necessary to be successful in a school environment.
Evaluations will be completed by July.
Once the evaluations are completed, an acceleration evaluation committee will convene for the purpose of conducting a fair and thorough evaluation of the child. This committee may include the following:
- the home school principal
- a kindergarten teacher or a gifted services teacher
- a parent or legal guardian of the referred student or a representative designated by a parent or legal guardian of the referred student
- a gifted education coordinator or gifted intervention specialist
- a school psychologist or guidance counselor
Early entrance evaluation is completed in the late spring/early summer concurrently with kindergarten registration.
The Ohio Department of Education has on its website a checklist for kindergarten readiness. When looking at whether early entrance is appropriate for a child, the same readiness guidelines should be considered.
Students who are viable candidates for Early Entrance to Kindergarten are expected to be developmentally “on track” with the typical kindergarten student. Should a student meet the identification criteria for Superior Cognitive identification but fail to meet the developmental readiness assessment, the acceleration team (principal, kindergarten teacher, gifted services specialist, parent and/or legal guardian(s), guidance counselor, and school psychologist) will then discuss and reach consensus as to what placement is best for the child.
Instruments that may be used:
May (Last week ) Deadline for Early Entrance to kindergarten applications
Return application to:
Tiffin City Schools
Office of Gifted Education
103 Shepherd Dr.
Tiffin, OH 44883
July (Third week) Deadline for assigned psychologist(s) to complete evaluations
July (Fourth and fifth weeks) Deadline for school to complete acceleration committee meetings
August (first and second weeks) Deadline for written notification of outcome of the evaluation process
August (fourth week) Deadline to submit a written appeal to the Superintendent or his/her designee regarding the outcome of the evaluation process
Applications received after the last week of May will be scheduled at the district gifted supervisor or director of pupil personnel.