Check out our video presentation, Welcome to Kindergarten!, to learn about:
- How to prepare for Kindergarten and what to expect
- How to identify and register for your neighborhood school for the 2023-24 school year. Registration opens Feb. 1, 2023.
- Option elementary schools available to all students and how to apply. The application window is Feb. 1 to April 17, 2023.
- Learn about Extended Day!
In person Elementary School Information Sessions:
- Each elementary school will offer an in-person information session for families in February and March, 2023.
- Learn about each school, connect with staff, and ask questions.
The kindergarten year serves as an introduction to the formal school setting. The program is designed to guide children toward a happy and healthy adjustment to school life and to encourage a love of learning. Sending your first child off to kindergarten can cause anxiety for parents and for children. Here are some tips and answers to frequently asked questions, to make this transition just a little smoother for your entire family.
Fostering Independence Prepare your child for kindergarten by encouraging helpful habits such as putting things away, following directions, doing simple chores, dressing themselves, and helping others. As adults, many of us love that feeling of satisfaction when we get to check something off our to-do lists. Why not give children this same opportunity? Create a chart with visuals of two or three jobs for your child to accomplish each day. Allow them to check off the list with a marker or move the pictures using velcro. You will be amazed at how proud and confident your child will be to accomplish daily tasks! Kindergarten students are expected to be able to put away their backpacks and lunch box and put on their coats. Help your child practice storing items in a particular place in the home and locating it each day. Help them to dress themselves and put on their coats or shoes. Celebrate successes when your child is able to do this on his/or her own. Be sure to write your child’s name on the tag of jackets and sweaters. This will help the teacher to reunite your child with any clothing that gets misplaced. Every school has a lost & found area near the main office that is usually overflowing by the end of the year. By encouraging your child to take care of their belongings, you can ensure that your child’s clothing will not be added to this collection.
When can my child go to kindergarten? Children who reach their fifth birthday on or before September 30 may enter kindergarten in that year, by state law. Children whose birthdays fall after September 30 enter kindergarten the following year.
Does my child have to go to kindergarten? No. Kindergarten is recommended, but not required by law. However, you must inform the school system in writing if you decide not to register your child. If your child will be six years old by September 30, Virginia Law requires you to enroll your child in school.
Where do I register? Register your child online, at the elementary school that your child will attend, or by calling the APS Welcome Center at 703-228-8000. For information on which attendance/boundary zone you live in, click here.
What are the hours for the kindergarten program? Arlington Public Schools provides a full-day kindergarten program. Children attend school for 6 1/2 hours a day.
What should I bring to registration? Registration information
What will my child learn? What to Expect in the APS Kindergarten Program
How do I learn about my child’s progress? Teacher parent conferences are held in October and March. You may request a conference with your child’s teacher at any time. Kindergarten progress reports are written and distributed in January and June.
Is Extended Day care available? Yes. The Extended Day Program provides before and after school sessions that operate on regularly scheduled school days. Fees are based on sliding scale. Your school can provide additional information or call the Extended Day Program at 703-228-6069.
Is transportation provided? Bus transportation is provided for children who live one or more miles from their neighborhood school. A list of bus stops and pick-up and drop-off times is available at your school. Any changes to your child’s daily schedule must be reported to the school. According to Virginia Board of Education regulations, parents must walk their young children to and from the bus stop, or arrange for someone else to do so.
How large are the classes? Each class has approximately 22 students with a teacher and a teacher’s assistant.
Are there different options for the kindergarten program? There are many kindergarten options in Arlington. Some choices are offered countywide, others depend upon where you live. Visit the school options page or call 703-228-7667 for information about choices other than your neighborhood school.Recommended Books to Read with your child
Tips for Preparing your Student for Kindergarten:
- Play games that require cooperative interaction.
- Encourage your child to do things independently.
– Read to your child every day or every night for fifteen to twenty minutes.
- Have your child practice self-help skills such as tying shoes, buttoning pants, washing hands, using the bathroom and eating at the table.
- Make sure your child knows important personal information such as his or her name and phone number.
– Begin to plan for how your child will get to and from school.
- Engage in ”school-like experiences” with your child: Joining a play group, attending story hour at the local library, and encouraging interaction with new friends are great ways to introduce your child to new social experiences.
- Talk with your child about everyday experiences. Ask open-ended questions like, “What would happen if…?” “What do you like about…?”
Recommended Books to Read with your Student:
Miss Bindergarten Goes to Kindergarten by Joseph Slate
Lola Goes to School by Anna McQuinn
Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten by Audrey Vernick
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
Kindergarten Cat by J. Patrick Lewis
The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes