This Is How to Register Your Little One for Kindergarten

siblings go to school
Photo by Phase4Studios/Shutterstock

Sending your kids off to kindergarten or school is a big step for most parents. It can be an emotional time fraught with many details you may not expect. From choosing the right school for your child to all the paperwork you have to fill out, it can feel a bit overwhelming. Rest assured, we have you covered.

How to Choose a Kindergarten

Choosing a kindergarten for your child is an important decision. It may be your child’s first exposure to a school environment and can impact their journey throughout the rest of their education.

Kindergarten used to be straightforward with one school per district. Now there are many more choices and a lot more schools, and it can be confusing. To choose the best kindergarten for your little one, you will want to visit in person and take a tour. Talk to other parents and read reviews. Since this may be the first exposure to a school environment for your child, make sure it’s not overcrowded, and that it is staffed with well-trained, mature teachers. Make sure there are no more than 18 students per every teacher. Teacher to student ratio requirements vary by state.

Before signing up, you should also ask about the curriculum. What will your child learn during their time there? Pay attention to the environment and teaching style. You want to match the school with your child’s temperament. Other things to consider:

  • What are the school’s health policies?
  • Does your child have any special needs and can the school accommodate?
  • Is work and play time balanced?
  • How well do the teachers work with each child?
  • How does the school rank in testing?

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What You Need to Register Your Child for Kindergarten

Like with most anything, registering your child for kindergarten requires paperwork. If you are like most parents, you haven’t seen your child’s birth certificate since they were born. Don’t worry, you can easily lookup birth records online and grab a copy of your kid’s before registering.

When registering, you will need proof of your child’s age and identity; this is where their birth certificate comes in. You will also need proof of residence; you may be asked to provide a utility bill, mortgage statement, and your driver’s license. You also need to provide proof of immunization. Your pediatrician likely has a card they fill out when you bring your child in for shots, or gives you updated immunization printouts at annual physicals. Some kindergartens may have other documentation you will need to provide.

How to Choose a School

No one knows your child better than you. First, write down a list of the five most important things a school must have. Consider your child’s safety, needs, personality, behavior, and their preferences when picking a school right for them. Consider the location of the school and transportation to and from school.

Do your homework and thoroughly research schools online and through conversations with other parents. Pay close attention to test scores and how schools rank overall in your district.

Some questions to ask when visiting are:

  • Is the school overcrowded?
  • What is the curriculum?
  • How does the school rank academically?
  • What is their teaching philosophy?
  • Are there kids with behavioral issues?
  • What safety and security measures are in place?

You will also want to tour any schools you are interested in and look for conditions of the facility, do they offer any special features or programs, and what is the culture of the children and faculty.

What You Need to Register Your Child for School

School requires even more paperwork when registering, and among the school-specific documents you will also need the following:

  • Child’s birth certificate.
  • Immunizations.
  • Proof of guardianship.
  • Proof of residency.
  • Emergency contact information.
  • IEP/504 plan information (if needed).

children sitting at lunch table
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Emily Andrews is the marketing communications specialist at RecordsFinder, an online public records search company. Communications specialist by day and community volunteer at night, she believes in compassion and defending the defenseless. 

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