If you've just moved to Georgia and you have a child under 5 years old, you need to know what the cut-off dates are for kids to start kindergarten since each state makes its own rules on this issue, and the rule in Georgia very well might be different from your previous state of residence.
As of April 2018, children must be 5 years old by Sept. 1 to start kindergarten in Georgia, and likewise, they must be 6 years old by Sept. 1 to start first grade in Georgia.
Enrollment at Age 4
Some states have later cut-off dates, and they allow children to start kindergarten at age 4 if they were born in the last third of the year, after Sept. 1. If you moved to Georgia from one of these states, were a legal resident of that state for two years, and your child was enrolled in kindergarten there, you can enroll your child in Georgia kindergarten as long as the child is 5 by Dec. 31.
The same goes for first grade. Transplants can enroll a child in first grade as long as he or she is 6 by Dec. 31 and was in first grade in your previous state of residence. Schools are required to verify these ages before enrollment.
Kindergarten Isn't Required
In Georgia, public kindergarten is not mandatory, but it is available in every school district. If you want to enroll your child in kindergarten, check your school's website or call the school to find out about registration dates and get the calendar for the year. All children ages 6 to 16 must be enrolled in a public or private school or a home study program by law in Georgia.
Georgia's Pre-K Program
If your child is too young to enroll in kindergarten in Georgia, he or she may be able to enroll in a pre-kindergarten program. Georgia's pre-k program gives kids a jump start on their education. This program is funded by the state lottery and typically runs at the same times as the regular school calendar.
It's open to kids who are 4 before Sept. 1 of that school year. Participants also must live in Georgia. If your child missed pre-k as a 4-year-old but isn't yet ready for kindergarten, he or she might be eligible to enroll in pre-k at age 5. Talk to staff members of the pre-k program about the details involved in requesting this exception. Kids who are 6 or older can't enroll in the pre-k program.
All children who are enrolling in a Georgia public school for the first time must provide a certification of eye, ear, and dental examinations, along with an immunization certificate, which includes all age-appropriate immunizations, marked "complete for school" by your health care provider.