Kindergarten Enrollment Changes

Posted at 1:38 PM, Jan 15, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-15 20:59:13-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- If you are signing your child up for kindergarten soon, there are some enrollment changes that could affect your child if they have a Fall birthday. Michigan is one of just a few states in the country that does not start kindergarten in September. Over the next few years, the state will work towards that.

But, as the state works to get Michigan on the same track as the rest of the country, it could catch some kids in the middle.

Parent, Jamie Farber, is anticipating how her young son will be affected as he enters his first few years of school.

“It’s kind of a trap,” said Farber. “You’re trying to get these kids started as early as possible but all of a sudden there’s a change.”

The state of Michigan is moving back the start date for kids entering kindergarten. What used to be children turning five years old by December starting kindergarten, will eventually become turning five by September.

The process will take a couple of years, though.

Starting in 2013, children will need to be five years old by November. In 2014, five by October. And by 2015, five by September.

“Michigan is one of maybe two states with no September start date,” said Julie Neuhaus, preschool director at Mayflower Preschool. “So people move here from other areas and it’s a little more difficult.”

Neuhaus believes children will benefit by starting school older, both socially and academically.

But in the process, it could catch a lot of kids in the middle.

Such as kids who have been in preschool for several years already, but will miss the cut-off date to start kindergarten with birthdays after November first this year.

“There’s a lot of people freaking out all of a sudden because there is no place for them to go,” said Farber.

Farber said her son, who will be five this September, is signing her child up for what’s called Young Five, which acts like a bridge between preschool and kindergarten. She expects many other parents to do the same until 2015.

“It’s getting us in line with the rest of the country,” said Farber. “But, there will be some growing pains.”

Farber urges parents of children with Fall birthdays to start thinking about options now.