What Age Does Independent Kindergarten Start in NYC?

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Applying to kindergarten is an important step, but it can be extra challenging if your child was born in the month of August. Just know that you are not alone! Every year families call the Parents League with questions about August birthdays, so we’ve compiled a list of common questions and answers for this special admissions situation.

With a late-August birthday, your child just makes the cut-off date for independent and private school kindergarten programs in New York City that require a child to turn 5 years old by September 1st.

Should I apply to kindergarten if my child will be a very young 5-year-old in September, placing him or her as potentially the youngest in the class?

There is no hard and fast rule to applying as long as your child turns 5 by the published deadline. The decision to apply for kindergarten, when it will mean that your child will be one of the youngest in the class, is not an easy one. You know your child best, but consult with your preschool Director and your child’s teacher to help you with the decision.

If I decide to apply to kindergarten, will the schools take age into consideration?

Yes. Schools want each child to transition to kindergarten with success. Although the age of your child is taken into consideration; age is not the sole determinant of acceptance. A young 5-year-old may present as having the maturity to handle a kindergarten curriculum, or they may present as benefitting from an additional year in preschool.

What_age_kindergarten_NYC_2020.jpg

How will I know if my child presents as too young for an ongoing kindergarten program in New York?

Your child will be screened by experienced educators for admission to kindergarten. These educators will be assessing, among a number of other factors, student readiness for their program. Should the educators, along with the admissions committee,  feel that your child could use another year in pre-K, they will send you a notification that your child is deemed too young for the year in which you are currently applying.

If we receive a notification that our child is too young for a kindergarten program, should we reapply in the following year?

Yes. If you are interested in waiting a year, as recommended by the school, you are highly encouraged to apply for the following year. A “too young” notification means just that, and schools would welcome your continued interest in applying the following year.

What does it mean if we get a “too young” notice from some of our schools, and an acceptance at others?

Because school programs vary in their expectations around early academics and structure, it is possible that your child would be ready for one program, while needing more time before enrolling in another. Schools will give you their best advice on whether your child is ready for their specific program.

Kindergarten_age_private_school_NYC.jpg

If we receive a notification that our child is too young, but we feel strongly that s/he is ready, can we contact the school to discuss it further?

When your child is determined to be too young for a program, this is the best decision for your child, as agreed upon by the admissions committee. While schools may be willing to discuss this decision with you further, it is advisable to accept the school’s decision and reapply for the following year.

If you have further questions about summer birthdays and applying to kindergarten, please contact the Parents League of New York to speak to one of our expert School Advisors.