Kindergarten registration in Delaware is a notoriously confusing process for parents, with piles of paperwork that differ from district to district and charter to charter, along with varying deadlines for registration and school choice.
There is some hope on the horizon, as for the first time, the Delaware Readiness Teams have taken the lead to help simplify the information for families (in English and Spanish) to help them complete the process on time.
But in the meantime, here are just five hazards relating to kindergarten registration in the First State.
- There is no single deadline. Delaware districts and schools have different registration timelines. Did you know that the deadline for choice closes in January? If families want to participate in choice, they need to first register in their “feeder” district. Knowing when to register your child for kindergarten is important so your family can plan accordingly.
- Dozens of students in single districts—hundreds across the state—register after school has started. Children’s transitions should be supportive of learning and the social and emotional supports needed to make learning happen. Learning about other students, classroom expectations, and what is to come is a big part of a successful transition.
- Schools often don’t have accurate intel on expected incoming students and are not prepared for additional students. This requires schools to form additional classrooms and hire teachers after the start of the school year, which is disruptive for children adjusting to school settings for the first time.
- When they register late, students miss out on valuable learning time. If students are not in school, they are not learning.One in 10 Kindergarten student miss nearly a month of school each year. Low-income students are four times more likely to be chronically absent, and kindergarten students who miss more than 10 percent of learning time perform much lower on fifth grade reading scores.
- Each district and charter has a different process and criteria for collecting data. With 28 districts and charters in the state that offer kindergarten, it is difficult to navigate the registration process for each one. There are various sources of information, varying timelines, and several forms for parents to fill out—by hand. Common questions include:
- How do I know what school my child should attend?
- Where to I register?
- What paperwork do I need to complete?
- Where do I find this information and where do I need to go? Can I do it online?
But fret not. Connect with the Delaware Readiness Teams to skip the headaches and get the info you need. Or better yet—join a team and help support families and children in your community during this important phase of life. Check us out online, follow us on Facebook, attend an event, and get in touch.