Planning for Kindergarten

By Long Westerlund

If your child is approaching kindergarten age, here are some helpful facts about eligibility and enrollment in Virginia:

The Commonwealth of Virginia law for Kindergarten registration provides that a child must be 5 years old on or before September 30 to be eligible.  Although registration begins February 1 for the following school year, there is no deadline for registration, but parents are encouraged to register early.   

Kindergarten is recommended, but not required by law.  Parents must inform the school system in writing if they decide not to register a child for kindergarten.  If a child will be six years old by September 30, Virginia Law requires that the child be enrolled in school.  

The Arlington Public School (APS) system has an Underage Placement in Grade One policy (PIP 20-3.350 Underage Placement in Grade One), which provides for early placement for potential students who have a birthdate between October 1 and December 31 of his/her five-year-old year.  This opportunity allows for APS staff to consider the best educational placement for advanced students.

The calendar of events for Underage Placement in Grade One is: 

February-March: parents submit the initial request for advancement to either the elementary principal and/or Early Childhood Supervisor.  An initial meeting is scheduled, student work, recommendations and formal/informal testing from previous schools is collected, and parents meet with the Early Childhood Supervisor and Principal to explain rationale and share the artifacts.  

March-April: The Early Childhood Supervisor meets with the child for an informal interview at the Syphax Education Center, 2110 Washington Blvd to assess readiness. 

May: APS registers an appointment to administer an informal literacy and mathematics assessment.  

June: The informal literacy and math assessment is performed, which includes the child spending a half-day at school.  Shortly thereafter, APS compiles and reviews the assessment data, including observations of social development with the staff and Early Childhood Supervisor, and makes a recommendation.  The family is notified of the Underage Placement decision by the Principal or Early Childhood Supervisor. 

For more information visit:, and, while registration forms may be found at