Kindergarten Requirements in 2020-2021 Frequently Asked Questions – Updated August 6, 2020
- Is kindergarten required in Virginia?
In Virginia, parents must ensure that a child attends school in compliance with the state compulsory attendance law as specified in § 22.1-254 of the Code of Virginia when the child has reached his fifth birthday on or before September 30 of any school year and has not passed his eighteenth birthday. However, any child who will not have reached his sixth birthday on or before September 30 of each school year whose parent or guardian notifies the appropriate school board that he does not wish the child to attend school until the following year because the child, in the opinion of the parent or guardian, is not mentally, physically, or emotionally prepared to attend school, may delay the child's attendance for one year.
Grade placement (either kindergarten or first grade) will be determined by the local school division at the time of enrollment with consideration for factors such as age, academic records, and school readiness.
In the case of any five-year-old child who is subject to compulsory attendance (see age requirements above), compulsory attendance may be alternatively satisfied by having the child attend any public educational pre-kindergarten program, including a Head Start program, or in a private, denominational, or parochial educational pre-kindergarten program.
- Can I start kindergarten later in the school year?
Parents are expected to register students for kindergarten as soon as possible, according to the local schedule for the start of the year. There are no provisions regarding a delayed start specific to kindergarten.
- Does my child need to complete kindergarten in order to attend first grade?
Grade placement and advancement is a local decision. Local school divisions will need to determine which grade level is most appropriate for an incoming student, based on the student’s academic record and current instruction as compared to a Virginia public school student of the same age and grade range.
- Do I need to register for kindergarten?
Each school division has a designated process for registering for kindergarten. Families should contact their assigned school or divisions for information on how to register.
- Can my child continue for an additional year at preschool rather than do virtual kindergarten?
In the case of any five-year-old child who meets the age requirements for kindergarten, compulsory attendance may be satisfied by attending any public educational pre-kindergarten program, including a Head Start program, or in a private, denominational, or parochial educational pre-kindergarten program.
- Can I homeschool my kindergartener?
Virginia parents are required to ensure that a child attends school in compliance with the state compulsory attendance law as specified in § 22.1-254 of the Code of Virginia when the child has reached his fifth birthday on or before September 30 of any school year and has not passed his eighteenth birthday. The compulsory attendance law permits a teaching parent to provide for home instruction of their child as described in § 22.1-254.1. Parents may find VDOE’s Home Instruction Handbook - Information for Parents-This is a Word document. to be a helpful resource in navigating the home instruction process.
- What are the requirements for home instruction?
The home instruction process is managed by the local division in which the parent and student reside; parents interested in home instruction will want to work with the administrative offices of their local school division on how to meet the below requirements and details of submissions.
The Code of Virginia sets out a number of requirements for any parent who elects to provide home instruction to their student in lieu of school attendance.
First, the teaching parent must demonstrate to the local school division that they meet one of the following:
Option I - The teaching parent holds a high school diploma. The parent must submit to the school superintendent documentation which shows that the parent has earned a high school diploma or a higher credential (e.g., a certificate, an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or a doctorate). A high school equivalency certificate (e.g., a GED) would not meet this requirement; or
Option II - The teaching parent meets the qualifications for a teacher prescribed by the Board of Education. To qualify under this option, the parent must hold a teaching license or a letter of eligibility for licensure in Virginia and submit it to the school superintendent; or
Option III - The teaching parent provides a program of study or curriculum which may be delivered through a correspondence course or distance learning program or in any other manner. If the child is enrolled in a correspondence course or distance learning program, the parent must submit evidence of such enrollment and a list of the subjects to be studied for the coming year to the school division; however, no judgment of the materials is required of the school division superintendent; or
Option IV - The teaching parent provides evidence that he or she is able to provide an adequate education for the child.
In addition to submitting evidence of having met one of the criteria, any parent who elects to provide home instruction shall send a notice of intent, on an annual basis, no later than August 15, to the division superintendent. Alongside the notice of intent, the parent must also provide a description of the curriculum, limited to a list of subjects to be studied during the coming year.
Lastly, the teaching parent is required to submit, by the following August 1, evidence of the child's academic achievement. This requirement can be met in a number of ways and the parent should work with the local school division to ensure they are providing the necessary documentation.
These requirements are set out in § 22.1-254.1 of the Code of Virginia. Parents may find VDOE’s Home Instruction Handbook - Information for Parents-This is a Word document. to be a helpful resource in navigating the home instruction process.
- Do I have to register as a homeschooler if my child does not participate in virtual kindergarten?
Section 22.1-254.1 of the Code of Virginia requires any parent providing home instruction for their student to submit a Notice of Intent to Home School to the division superintendent.
- What is my child expected to learn and be able to do by the end of kindergarten?
The Standards of Learning (SOL) for Virginia Public Schools establish minimum expectations for what students should know and be able to do at the end of each grade (kindergarten included) or course in English, mathematics, science, history/social science and other subjects. The SOL for kindergarten are available by subject area using the menu on the left side of this web page.
- What resources are available for parents or caregivers to supplement virtual kindergarten?
The Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program (VKRP) has developed family resource packets and curated a list of additional resources that provide ideas on how to support readiness skills (mathematics, self-regulation, social skills, and literacy) at home. Literacy information and activities are linked to and housed on the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) website. Additional resources for supporting English language learners and students with special needs are also provided.
Khan Academy Kids® is a free, educational app providing families of children ages 2-7 access to thousands of activities and books. Focused content includes math, reading, social emotional learning, creative projects, and more.
Starfall® offers free access to interactive kindergarten language arts, math, and music activities.
- If I homeschool my child or send them to private kindergarten, will they be able to start first grade next year in a public school?
Students transferring in grades kindergarten through 8 from Virginia public schools or nonpublic schools accredited by one of the approved accrediting constituent members of the Virginia Council for Private Education shall be given recognition for all grade-level work completed.
The academic record of students transferring from all other schools shall be evaluated to determine appropriate grade placement in accordance with policies adopted by the local school board.
- Can my child care center, family day home or faith-based preschool offer a private kindergarten program?
Child care centers, family day homes, or faith-based preschools may offer a private kindergarten program.
- Does my program have to be licensed in order to offer private kindergarten?
No. Kindergarten is not considered a child day program that is required to be licensed or exempt from licensure through the Department of Social Services.
- Does my private kindergarten program have to be accredited?
Private schools are not required to be accredited in Virginia. To learn more about the benefits of accreditation, please visit the Virginia Council for Private Education website: https://www.vcpe.org/
- Is my private kindergarten classroom required to have a licensed teacher?
Teacher licensure requirements do not apply to private schools.