Many parents worry about their child’s age when entering school for the first time, be it private school or public. The generally used cut-off date, nationwide, for a child entering Kindergarten is 5 years old. The cut off for turning 5 years old, however, can differ between the states themselves, in addition to public vs private schools within a state.
Cut off age dates may seem like an easy and simple formula to apply to children’s age and maturity level when starting school, but they are not. The rationale behind it is to regulate a mental and physical baseline for all of the children in the same grade. In practice however, no child matures by a calendar.
Public School Cut Off Ages
For public schools in New York, the child must turn 5 by December 31st of the entering school year. This inevitably means, however, that children born in very late December, who are on the cusp of the mental maturity to handle a long school day, are put in a position of keeping up with their older peers.
Private School Cut Off Ages
New York Private Schools who are members of ISAAGNY have a cut off date of September 1st for children entering Kindergarten. This goes along with a growing trend towards older Kindergartners. In fact, during the last 30 years, nearly half of all states have increased the age at which a child can legally enter kindergarten.
Two states, Maryland and Arkansas, have both moved their cutoff dates to September 1 and there is currently a bill in the New York State Assembly to do the same for NY public schools.
It should be noted, however, that in New York Private Schools, even a child who does meet the cut off age may be turned away for a year if the school does not think he or she is ready.