The kindergarten year marks a transition in children's development and learning experiences. Children experience major cognitive, language, physical, social and emotional developments that need to be incorporated into kindergarten curriculum. Learn why it is as important to support individual students’ approaches to learning as it is to support what they are learning. Kindergarten teachers have a critical role in creating effective and engaging environments that support how children learn best. Watch our latest kindergarten video where three educators discuss all of this and more!

Full-Day Kindergarten Funding Available to School Districts and Charter Schools Fall 2014
Full-day kindergarten provides crucial opportunities for Minnesota’s younger learners to build upon their prekindergarten or early learning experiences to sustain the development of their cognitive, social, emotional and physical skills. Beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2014, funding will be available to school districts and charter schools to provide full-day kindergarten. View Minnesota Statutes, section 126C.05, Subdivision 1(d), on funding full-day kindergarten.

Full-Day Kindergarten Implementation
The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is developing guidance for districts on implementing a full-day kindergarten program. Support will include: research-based practices, instructional support and design recommendations and resources for all learning domains; support for curriculum and assessment alignment, scheduling, creating effective learning environments; family engagement strategies; school nutrition programs, and school finance and reporting guidelines. Guidance on district implementation and on developing school-board approved policies for early entrance are available now.

Kindergarten Entrance Requirements
In Minnesota, children are eligible to attend kindergarten when they are five-years-old on or before September 1 of the calendar year that schools starts. View Minnesota Statutes section 120A.20. In addition to the age requirement, each child entering kindergarten must:

  • Provide documentation of required immunizations. View Minnesota Statutes, section 121A.15. To learn more about Minnesota School Immunization Laws, visit the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) website.
  • Participate in a school district’s Early Childhood Screening program. A child may also meet this requirement by participating in a comparable health and developmental screening program provided by Head Start, Child and Teen Checkups or through a health care provider. If a parent is a conscientious objector to the screening program for their child, the child does not need to participate in the state screening program. View Minnesota Statutes, section 121A.17.

New Requirements for Early Kindergarten Entrance

  • Children who are not yet five-years-old on or before September 1 may be considered for kindergarten early entrance. Minnesota Statutes, section 124D.02, allows for school boards to permit selected children early admission into kindergarten if there is an early admission policy established by the school board. View the Minnesota Statute on early kindergarten entrance.
  • Requires parents and the commissioner to have access to the board’s early kindergarten admission policy. Charter schools must post the early entrance policy on their website. The early entrance policy is subject to an MDE audit.
  • Requires a school board that has adopted a policy to allow a child under the age of five to enroll in kindergarten to establish a comprehensive evaluation to be used to help determine the child’s cognitive, social, and emotional development and the child's ability to meet kindergarten grade expectations and progress to first grade the following year. The comprehensive evaluation must:
    • Use valid and reliable instrumentation.
    • Be aligned with state kindergarten expectations.
    • Include a parent report and teacher observations of the child's knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Kindergarten Students and Gifted Education Programs

  • Children who enter kindergarten through early entrance may also be considered gifted and talented children through an assessment process.
  • Requires districts to adopt procedures for early admission to kindergarten or first grade for gifted and talented learning. View the Minnesota Statute for early admission for select students who are identified as gifted and talented.
  • Requires board-adopted policies for early admission to kindergarten to be based on a comprehensive evaluation to determine the child’s ability to meet kindergarten expectations and progress to first grade the following year.
Watch our latest two-minute video guide to effective kindergarten assessment: "What is an administrators role in kindergarten assessment?"
  • Kindergarten Enrollment and Early Entrance FAQ Jan 2014 - 7/10/14
    Responses to frequently asked questions about Minnesota kindergarten entry requirements (January 2014).
  •  - 2/26/14
    Responses to Frequently Asked Questions about full-day kindergarten in Minnesota districts (January 2014)
  • Child Nutrition Program Decision Grid for Early Learning Programs in Schools  - 1/31/14
    This matrix provides an overview of the potential availability of child nutrition programs for children participating in school-based early learning programs.
  •  - 1/13/14
    This document provides a brief overview for parents of the school nutrition programs available for full-day kindergarten students.
  •  - 1/13/14
    Brief overview of school nutrition programs for full-day kindergarten students for school food service staff.
  •  - 1/13/14
    A brief overview for school administrators regarding considerations for the implementation of school nutrition programs for full-day kindergarten students.
  • Kindergarten Schedule Enrollment  - 12/20/13
    This Excel file provides information about the type of kindergarten programs (e.g., half-day, full-day kindergarten) provided by schools throughout Minnesota in the 2012-2013 school year. Links to the school district's and charter school's are included in the document for further information about kindergarten possible kindergarten program offerings in the 2014-2015 school year.
  • Early Entrance into Kindergarten Comprehensive Evaluation Guidance  - 12/16/13
    This document provides criteria guidance for school district staff in the selection of assessment instruments to use for assisting in early entrance into kindergarten for select students. A brief listing of assessment instruments is provided.