Wisconsin State Statutes (118.14(1)(a)) specify that children are eligible for kindergarten based on their age. To be eligible for 4-year-old kindergarten, a child must be 4 by September 1 of the school year. To be eligible for 5-year-old kindergarten, a child must be 5 by September 1 of the school year.
The statutes (120.12(25)) allow school districts to prescribe procedures, conditions and standards if they desire to allow early admission to kindergarten and first grade.
When districts allow early admissions, they will want to assure the child demonstrates the social, emotional, physical, and mental maturity normally expected for successful participation in kindergarten. The following prodedures may be considered:
- A personal interview to determine the parent's reasons for requesting entrance prior to the legal age.
- An assessment of the child's potential to benefit from early admission to kindergarten or first grade considering emotional stability, social and mental maturity, and physical health.
- A conference held with the parents to consider the appropriateness of early entrance into kindergarten or first grade.
- A process for appeals to the school board.
- As long as children are admitted through a district's early admission policy, they can be counted for equalization aid.
- Districts with 4 year old kindergarten early admission policies should ensure these policies and practices are coordinated with 5 year old early admission policies to discourage retention issues.