Kindergarten Registration Information
Each year, our 14 elementary schools have the honor of welcoming around 1,000 new students to their educational home. Our youngest students bring an eagerness and enthusiasm that is a daily inspiration to all of us at Elkhart Community Schools. Here is a run-down of the most important information as you prepare for kindergarten.
When does registration open?
ECS is currently planning on opening online registration near the end of March, just before Spring Break. Once it is open, the link will be shared on the ECS website and Facebook page.
How do I register my child?
ECS will again use online registration to help streamline the amount of paperwork that parents need to complete. Online registration ensures the information goes directly from the parents into PowerSchool, our student management program. Parents who do not have access to online registration can come in to their child’s school use the district’s computers or tablets to register. Online registration can be completed on a smartphone. If parents would prefer to complete paper copies of forms, or to register in person, each of our schools will have packets of forms on hand in April.
What do I do after I register?
The school will still need physical copies of the child’s birth certificate, immunization records, and proof of residency/address. These can be brought in any time during school office hours. If you are planning on registering in person at the school, please be sure to bring these items with you.
Will there be a chance for us to visit the school?
Yes! ECS hosts a Kindergarten Open House every spring at every elementary school. This year’s event is on April 11, 2019 from 6:30-8:00pm. All fourteen elementary schools will be open for parents and children to explore and meet staff. Students will be able to see the most important parts of the school – the kindergarten classrooms, the cafeteria, the gym, the art room, the library commons, and more!
I’m not sure which school boundaries I live within? Can you help?
Yes! Open this link, enter your address, and it will bring up the schools that serve your address.
I need to transfer my child to a different school at ECS, due to the location of my babysitter. How do I do this?
Learn more about transfers on the ECS Transfer page. Contact Student Services at 574-262-5555 to schedule an appointment for transfer processing.
What is the birthdate cut-off for kindergarten?
Students must be 5 years old on or before August 1, 2019 to enter kindergarten.
In spring 2018, the Indiana Department of Education changed funding for kindergarten, so that students born after August 1 cannot count toward the funding formula of a school district.
In years prior to 2018, Elkhart Community Schools, as well as many other districts, permitted students born within a reasonable time after the cut-off to be screened with a basic ‘kindergarten readiness test’ to see if they are socially, emotionally, and academically ready for kindergarten, then permit early entrance accordingly. With the change in funding, districts have had to change this policy on early entrance, including Elkhart Community Schools.
However, ECS understands that some students may truly be academically ready for school and that holding them back for a year may not be in their best interest. For this reason, ECS will test early entrance applicants for High Ability using CogAT and NWEA tests, at the request of the parents. Last year, approximately 10% of students who sought early entrance met the requirement and were admitted to kindergarten.
We are continuing to monitor the IDOE’s birthdate requirements moving forward.
What are the immunization requirements?
A complete list of immunization requirements can be found here.
Where can I go to get immunizations?
Contact your child’s pediatrician or the Elkhart County Health Department (additional information).
What can I do to help prepare my child for kindergarten?
Children start learning as soon as they are born. For the first years of their lives, parents and caretakers are the most important teachers. Every day, there are teachable moments you can use as you help your child prepare for school!
Here are some ways you can help your child prepare for school:
- Read books together.
- Establish a regular evening routine and bedtime.
- Establish a morning routine and empower your child to explore independence with getting dressed, brushing teeth, brushing hair, eating breakfast, tying shoes, remembering coat and backpack.
- Practice counting – count the items you see around you.
- Meet and play with other children their age.
- Find and name the letters of the alphabet everywhere you go.
- Talk about what kindergarten will be like.
- Practice respecting others’ property and using good manners.
- Practice sharing with other children.
- Use scissors to practice cutting.
- Use crayons to draw.
How else can I help prepare my child for kindergarten?
Kindergarten Camp & Transition to Kindergarten! These kindergarten readiness programs give our newest students a chance to get comfortable in the school 1 or 2 weeks before school starts, and before the rest of the children return from summer break. These programs are a great way to make the transition into kindergarten much easier for kids and parents!
If you register your child before the end of this school year, he or she will be eligible to attend the kindergarten readiness program!