Full-Day Kindergarten Funding Available to School Districts and Charter Schools Fall 2014
Full-day kindergarten provides crucial opportunities for Minnesota’s younger learners to build upon their prekindergarten or early learning experiences to sustain the development of their cognitive, social, emotional and physical skills. Beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2014, funding will be available to school districts and charter schools to provide full-day kindergarten. View Minnesota Statutes, section 126C.05, Subdivision 1(d), on funding full-day kindergarten.
Full-Day Kindergarten Implementation
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is developing guidance for districts on implementing a full-day kindergarten program. Support will include: research-based practices, instructional support and design recommendations and resources for all learning domains; support for curriculum and assessment alignment, scheduling, creating effective learning environments; family engagement strategies; school nutrition programs, and school finance and reporting guidelines. Guidance on district implementation and on developing school-board approved policies for early entrance are available now.
Kindergarten Entrance Requirements
In Minnesota, children are eligible to attend kindergarten when they are five-years-old on or before September 1 of the calendar year that schools starts. View Minnesota Statutes section 120A.20. In addition to the age requirement, each child entering kindergarten must:
- Provide documentation of required immunizations. View Minnesota Statutes, section 121A.15. To learn more about Minnesota School Immunization Laws, visit the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) website.
- Participate in a school district’s Early Childhood Screening program. A child may also meet this requirement by participating in a comparable health and developmental screening program provided by Head Start, Child and Teen Checkups or through a health care provider. If a parent is a conscientious objector to the screening program for their child, the child does not need to participate in the state screening program. View Minnesota Statutes, section 121A.17.
New Requirements for Early Kindergarten Entrance
- Children who are not yet five-years-old on or before September 1 may be considered for kindergarten early entrance. Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.02, allows for school boards to permit selected children early admission into kindergarten if there is an early admission policy established by the school board. View the Minnesota Statute on early kindergarten entrance.
- Requires parents and the commissioner to have access to the board’s early kindergarten admission policy. Charter schools must post the early entrance policy on their website. The early entrance policy is subject to an MDE audit.
- Requires a school board that has adopted a policy to allow a child under the age of five to enroll in kindergarten to establish a comprehensive evaluation to be used to help determine the child’s cognitive, social, and emotional development and the child's ability to meet kindergarten grade expectations and progress to first grade the following year. The comprehensive evaluation must:
- Use valid and reliable instrumentation.
- Be aligned with state kindergarten expectations.
- Include a parent report and teacher observations of the child's knowledge, skills, and abilities.
Kindergarten Students and Gifted Education Programs
- Children who enter kindergarten through early entrance may also be considered gifted and talented children through an assessment process.
- Requires districts to adopt procedures for early admission to kindergarten or first grade for gifted and talented learning. View the Minnesota Statute for early admission for select students who are identified as gifted and talented.
- Requires board-adopted policies for early admission to kindergarten to be based on a comprehensive evaluation to determine the child’s ability to meet kindergarten expectations and progress to first grade the following year.