Early Entrance to Kindergarten
Forest Lake Area Schools offers an early option to kindergarten for children who will turn five years old after September 1 and on or before September 30 and exhibits advanced social/emotional, intellectual, academic, and language skills. Parents who desire to have their child considered for early entrance to kindergarten may apply to have their child screened. During a typical year, our district has one or two students who qualify for early entrance.
Applications for early entrance are accepted anytime between January and the end of April. The cost for screening is $125.00 and is nonrefundable. Parents will be contacted about their child’s screening date in early May. Contact Kari Damon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-982-8155 for more information.
Application for Early Entrance to Kindergarten (application can be filled in electronically and printed, or printed and filled out by hand)
Additional Considerations for Early Entrance to Kindergarten
Academic readiness skills are only a piece of the equation one needs to think of when considering early entrance kindergarten. Parents of academically advanced students may feel their child is ready for kindergarten but wonder if it is the right choice. As parents weigh this important decision, it is important to provide for review some of the commonly made arguments both for and against early entrance to kindergarten.
**The following information has been accessed from two data sources cited at the end of this document.
Social and Emotional Maturity
Arguments for Early Entrance K: Academically advanced students may be socially and emotionally mature enough to start K early.
These students often prefer the company of older children and tend to have fewer behavior problems when their peers are older than they are.
For many bright students, acceleration provides a better personal maturity match with classmates.
Arguments Against Starting Early: One of the most common arguments against starting Kindergarten early is that a 4 year old is not mature enough to start school. Social immaturity can make it difficult for students to interact appropriately with other children.
Kindergarten students are required to:
Sit and listen to stories
Stay focused on a task
Understand the difference between work and play
Listen to the teacher
Arguments for Early Entrance K: One might expect that an academically advanced child’s physical maturity will lag behind emotional and intellectual development. Waiting for his/her physical development to catch up could negatively impact students academically and socially.
Arguments for Against Entrance K: Physical readiness includes gross and fine motor skills as well as physical size.
Kindergarten students are required to:
Impact on Adolescence
Arguments for Early Entrance K: All children mature at different rates. There is no way to know for sure if a child who starts school early is any more or less ready than children who are a year older.
Arguments Against Starting Early: Many families are sending their children to school later. This means many kindergarten students are already six years old. Early entrance kindergarten students will be in a classroom with students who are more than 18 months to two years older than them.
Long term considerations:
Arguments for Early Entrance K: Academically advanced children need a challenging environment and enriched learning experiences. Hitting this when the child is ready is important or they may lose interest in learning. It is important to ensure that their early school experiences are positive and lay a foundation of excitement for learning.
Arguments Against Starting Early: If children enter school early and are not ready, undesirable outcomes can be seen:
Keep in mind that children who have attended preschool are more likely to be better candidates for early entrance kindergarten. Preschool builds social skills and teaches routines and sets a foundation for early academic skills.
Bainbridge, Carol. “Should You Bring Your Child in for Early Entry into Kindergarten?” Verywell Family, Verywell Family, 16 July 2020, https://www.verywellfamily.com/early-entry-into-kindergarten-for-gifted-children-1449046.
Deceived a Nation - Acceleration Institute. http://www.accelerationinstitute.org/Nation_Deceived/ND_v1.pdf.
- Academically advanced children often think faster than they can write so one may notice poor handwriting as children scribble down things as quickly as they can. Waiting another year will not help.
- Hold a pencil properly (fine motor development)
- Hold scissors and cut properly (fine motor development)
- Academically advanced children who enroll early generally settle in smoothly with their older classmates.
- A child’s age in relation to grade when learning to drive
- A child’s age when graduating from high school and entering college or the workforce.
- Sometimes, waiting that extra year can make the academic environment of kindergarten difficult for academically advanced children.
- Can develop negative attitudes and low self esteem
- May need remediation in future grades
- If you are interested in a preschool experience for your child, check out FLAS Preschool programming housed within seven district locations. This program is called Little Rangers Preschool and is taught by professional and dedicated staff who have extensive experience working with children from birth to age five.
FLAS preschool programming can accommodate families looking for a 5 day school week experience with half-day or full-day options. Financial assistance is also available to offset costs.
- For more information call us at 651-982-8300 or find us at www.flaschools.org/preschool