State kindergarten enrollment drops due to new requirements

Even though kindergarten is now mandatory in Hawaii, the state Dept. of Education says it anticipates 6,000 less keiki will be enrolled in kindergarten this upcoming school year than last year.

This year, the state says project enrollment is about 10,500. Last year, enrollment was about 16,600.

With less births, the department says the difference is about 500 less, while the remaining roughly 5,500 balance is due to the change in the eligibility age for kindergarten.

Starting this school year, children must be 5 years old on or before July 31 to enter kindergarten.

“We encourage parents to be aware of the changes and take appropriate action for their children,” said schools superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “Kindergarten is a critical time in ensuring children have a solid academic foundation.”

The public school year is slated to start August 1.

For more information about enrolling in kindergarten in Hawaii, click here.

Parents of children born on or after August 1, 2009 have several options such as pre-school at a private provider or pre-kindergarten classes at select schools.

Earlier this year, the State’s Executive Office on Early Learning (EOEL) announced 21 pre-kindergarten classrooms will be available at 18 schools statewide for children born on or between August 1, 2009 and July 31, 2010, and who are eligible for free- and reduced-price meals. Priority will be given to children born in 2009 to enroll in these pre-kindergarten classes.

More information on the EOEL’s pre-kindergarten classes posted here.

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