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early kindergarten entrance

Early Kindergarten Entrance

State and Snoqualmie Valley School District guidelines require that students entering Kindergarten in the fall must be five years of age on or before August 31st. However, a child whose birth date falls on or between September 1st and December 31st may enter kindergarten if he or she meets the early entrance requirements.

The early entrance process involves an objective evaluation of your child’s cognitive, gross and fine motor, visual-motor integration, communication, and social/emotional development. To increase the likelihood that your child will have a successful first year of school, he/she will be expected to meet standards approximately six months above his/her chronological age in all areas assessed. Children meeting the early entrance standards will be recommended for a six-week trial period in kindergarten beginning at the start of the following school year.

kindergarten in the 21 st century

95% of children in the state of Washington attend kindergarten

  • Schools are moving towards full day K by 2017-18
  • Greater diversity of kids
  • Emphasis on Academic Achievement
    • Common core standards
Kindergarten in the 21st Century

Implications for Kindergarten

  • Curriculum has become more academic
  • Many parents (up to 10%) opt to hold out their child until next year
  • Teachers are challenged with a greater range of diversity
kindergarten readiness

School Readiness

  • No agreed-upon definition
  • Many factors linked to readiness (e.g., SES, being read to)
  • Children’s pre-K experiences vary
  • Child development is uneven/sporadic
  • Conclusion: Age is the only unbiased criterion for kindergarten entry.
Kindergarten Readiness
predictors for readiness

Developmental skills verbal skills (auditory memory, verbal reasoning)

  • persistence
  • attentiveness
  • emotional/behavioral regulation
  • fine motor & visual-motor skills (drawing, copying shapes, visual memory)
Predictors for Readiness
skill sets

Looking for kids to have a broad range of beginning academic knowledge as opposed to isolated knowledge in one area

  • This includes social skill development and maturity
  • Independence, self-help, and emotional maturity also considered
Skill Sets
academic skills

Academic skills early math concepts (knowledge of numbers, ordinality)

  • early language & reading skills (vocabulary, knowledge of letters, words, beginning/ending word sounds)
  • general knowledge of the world (physical & social science)
Academic Skills
verbal skills



  • Has receptive vocabulary of several hundredwords Describes characteristics of objects


  • Has extensive vocabulary, incl. technical words (e.g., pediatrician)
  • Describes simple relationships between objects
Verbal Skills
social emotional


    • Focuses on tasks of interest
    • Uses >2 strategies to solve a problem
    • At times, needs help to express strong emotions appropriately
  • 5-year-olds
    • Sustains focus until task is completed
    • Accepts reasonable challenges, continues through frustration
    • Expresses self appropriately (e.g., without fighting)
Social Emotional
fine motor


    • Writes some recognizable letters
    • Copies basic shapes
  • 5-year-olds
    • Writes at least first name
    • Able to copy more complex shapes & designs
Fine Motor
research says

4 y.o. kindies who are successful:

    • Have superior intelligence
    • Have parents and a K teacher who support early entry & are realistic in their expectations
    • Achieve as much as 5 y.o. kindies of similar intelligence
Research says…
early entrance testing

Parent input: skills, interests, & general development

  • Preschool teacher input (if applicable): classroom functioning & teacher recommendation
  • Assessments: intellectual, gross/fine motor, visual-motor, speech/language
Early Entrance Testing
cognitive criteria

To qualify your child must achieve a cognitive score in the High Average range (75%) compared to children aged 5 years, 6 months

  • This typically equates to a standard score of 110 or above
  • SVSD uses the Stanford WPPSI
Cognitive Criteria

Parents will be sent the testing results and notified of the team recommendation within no later than the 21st of August

  • All Testing will be done in one to two session depending on your child on the 19th and 20th of August
  • If you do not wish to wait until August, you can seek your own testing from a private licensed practitioner
next steps

If your child is recommended for early entrance:

    • Your neighborhood school will be notified by us
    • You will need to register your child for kindergarten at your neighborhood school
    • The school’s multi-disciplinary team will monitor your child’s progress.
    • The final decision for advancement will be made based on student performance after first 6 weeks of school
Next Steps
things to think about

Pressure of kindergarten expectations

  • Potential disadvantage for boys, due to developmental gender differences
  • Repeating kindergarten is usually not desirable
  • Long-term issues (e.g., physical size, peers driving or dating earlier)
  • The challenge of greater disparity in kindergartners’ age & readiness skills
  • 13 year old high school student
  • 17 year old college student
Things to think about…
alternatives to early k


  • Enrichment (field trips, exploring interests & experiences, music/art/sports/dance)
  • Private kindergarten (please refer to district policy for Exceptions to First Grade Entrance-Age Requirement)
Alternatives to Early K

School Readiness

  • School Readiness - by Mary Ann Raforth, Erin Buchenauer, Katherine Kolb Crissman, & Jennifer Halko (2004). Network for Instructional TV. Source: Teachers and Families website. http://www.teachersandfamilies.com/open/parent/schoolready1.cfm
  • When to Start Kindergarten? Suggestions for Parents – by National Association of School Psychologists. Source: Teachers and Families website
  • http://www.teachersandfamilies.com/open/parent/kg1.cfm
  • Gifted/Highly Capable Children
  • Parenting the Very Young, Gifted Child (RBDM 9308) – By Nancy M. Robinson (1993). The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented, University of Connecticut. “This report provides research-based answers to questions facing families of young, gifted children, and to questions often asked of preschool teachers, physicians, psychologists, and other professionals who deal with young children.”
  • http://www.gifted.uconn.edu/nrcgt/nrconlin.html
  • Books and Other Resources for Parents of Highly Capable Children – Compiled by Dr. Nancy Robinson (2008). http://depts.washington.edu/cscy/

Illinois Early Learning Project

  • http://illinoisearlylearning.org/
    • oOne-page “tip sheets” on wide-ranging topics such as language arts, math and science, health, and parenting skills
  • http://illinoisearlylearning.org/cgi-bin/iel/searchiel.asp?st=ts
    • National Association for the Education of Young Children oResources for parents and families—including information about early literacy learning, childcare standards, and play http://families.naeyc.org/
  • National Association for Gifted Children
    • http://www.nagc.org/
  • Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, State of Washington Early Learning and Development Guidelines
  • http://www.k12.wa.us/EarlyLearning/guidelines.aspx
  • Of Highly Capable: Frequently Asked Questions
  • http://www.k12.wa.us/HighlyCapable/FAQ.aspx
  • •Robinson Center for Young Scholars
  • http://depts.washington.edu/cscy/