Whether you are relocating for a new job, moving closer to relatives in a different city or simply buying a new house in a neighboring town, enrolling your kids in their new school is a must for most parents. If you have a 5- or 6-year-old, registering your child for her new kindergarten class is a task to investigate well before you actually make the move.
Is Enrollment Required?
Some states or local districts may not require you to enroll your child in kindergarten. Parents may choose to keep their kids home for a variety of reasons, including a desire to homeschool or give the child an extra year to mature. Such reasons may be acceptable to local educational authorities, but be sure to research the requirements in your specific location. For example, in the state of Pennsylvania, parents don't have to enroll their children in grade school until age 8.
In some cases, a new district may not allow you to register your child for kindergarten even if he was previously enrolled in another program. Due to variations in age cut-off dates, you must consult the individual district's policies about when you can enroll your child in kindergarten. For example, your current district may say that children who turn 5 by Sept. 1 of the current school year can start kindergarten, while your new district may specify an earlier or later deadline. If your child has a late summer or early fall birthday, the district may deny his enrollment because he doesn't meet their specific cut-off date. If this is the case, ask whether the district will allow you to petition officials for an exception.
Health Record Requirements
Enrolling your little learner in a new kindergarten often means submitting what seems like a mountain of paperwork. This includes health records that your child's new district or state requires. Ask your child's soon-to-be school what they require when it comes to physical exams and immunizations. For example, the state of Tennessee requires all children entering public kindergartens to have vaccinations that include Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis; Hepatitis A and B; Measles, Mumps and Rubella; Polio; and Varicella. While this schedule is fairly standard, different schools may have different policies.
Proof of Residence
Public districts typically only admit kids who live within specified neighborhood boundaries. When you move to a new district, you will most likely have to provide some proof of residency when enrolling your child in kindergarten. This may include a driver's license, utility statement or home ownership contract, all with your home address. This is often tricky when enrolling your child before you actually make the move, as you may not have a new driver's license or new utility bills. Ask the district what proof you can submit in lieu of other documents. They may allow you to provide proof of residency with a certified letter from your new landlord or a real-estate contract.