Our Kindergarten Policy

In public schools, kindergarten readiness is based on chronological age.  The "cut-off" date varies from state to state and ranges from July 1st to December 31st.   Over half of the states use a September cut-off date for entry into kindergarten. Until recent legislation, California was one of only four states with the cut off date of December 1st.  The cut off date for California kindergarten will gradually move to September 1st in 2014 (November 1st in 2012, October 1st in 2013 and then, September 1st in 2014).

At Sunrise, Blue Oak School and St. John's Lutheran, children must be 5 years old by September 1st in order to start the kindergarten program.  Chronological age is but one of many things we consider when determining a child's readiness for our kindergarten program.  Most importantly, we look for the social and emotional readiness needed for the added school day length and expectations of the Sunrise kindergarten program.  In our assessment, social and emotional readiness far outweighs the child's level of academic achievement.

Through years of reading the literature on school success, and, most importantly, by watching our students, we know the tremendous value of giving children the time they need, early in their educational careers, to develop strong self esteem, a deep love for learning and the tools necessary for academic achievement.  Starting kindergarten when a child is socially and emotionally ready is an early and very important step toward future success in school.

The following is a list of criteria that Sunrise uses to determine the kindergarten readiness of a child who turns 5 years old by September 1st of the school year.   A child who is probably ready for kindergarten:

            -expresses thoughts and feelings in complete sentences

            -asks questions

            -functions happily in the school community and cooperates with others

            -can control self on the playground

            -copes with mild frustration

            -makes independent choices in the classroom

            -can remember and then successfully follow teacher directions and suggestions

            -is able to concentrate on a given task for at least 10 to 15 minutes

            -enjoys the day at school and is not exhausted at the end of a day's session

            -works through simple problems and comes to mutually satisfactory decisions

            -can sit and attend in a group setting for at least 15 minutes

            -can take care of personal hygiene needs

 The following, KINDERGARTEN:  READY OR NOT?, was taken from the California Public School website, GreatSchools.org.

There isn't just one indicator that determines whether your child is ready for kindergarten.  Experts agree that a child's development needs to be evaluated in several areas.  The following is a guideline that includes a range of social, academic and developmental factors to consider when deciding if your child is ready to enter school:

  • Enthusiasm toward learning.  Is he eager to explore and discover?  Is he comfortable asking questions?  Does he persist even when a task is difficult?
  • Language skills.  Does she communicate her needs?  Express her feelings appropriately?
  • Ability to listen.  Can he follow simple instructions?  Is he able to listen to an entire story without interrupting?
  • Desire to be independent.  Does she separate from parents for the school day?  Is she starting to take responsibility for her personal belongings?  Can she follow simple two-step tasks?
  • Ability to interact with children and adults.  Is he able to share, compromise, take turns and problem-solve?
  • Strong fine-motor skills.  Is she able to hold and use a pencil?  Cut with scissors?  Is she learning to write her name?
  • Basic letter and number awareness.  Can he sing and recite the alphabet and recognize some letters?  Can he count to 10 and identify numbers one to five?

Throughout this school year, the Pre/K teachers will evaluate the developmental readiness of their students.  Sunrise has written guidelines to assist the teachers when a question arises about a child's readiness for kindergarten.  Teachers may also request an observation and evaluation by a school administrator.  In the Spring, your child's teacher will discuss her decision with you.  Sunrise always reserves the right to make the final decision concerning kindergarten entry.