Early Entrance

Purpose

We believe that the early years of a student’s education provide the solid foundation critical to ongoing academic success. Since the first years are so essential to a successful long-term educational experience, every effort is made to ensure that students entering kindergarten and first grade are ready to learn and be successful. Balancing current understanding of the long-term effects of early education with the unique needs of each student requires careful consideration. The district is in accordance with Illinois law which specifies that to enter kindergarten or first grade, children must be 5 years of age by September 1st of their kindergarten year or 6 years of age by September 1st of their first-grade year (105 ILCS 5/34-19, Sec. 34-19). District 28 holds that students are best served when they enter school at the ages research indicates most conducive to long-term success. However, District 28 procedures also consider the individual needs of students for early entrance.

Issues

The decision regarding early entrance to kindergarten and first grade requires careful consideration of all factors. The academic, social, and emotional readiness, as well as the student’s physical development and well-being, must be weighed, and other factors may also be considered. Sound decision-making in the area of early entrance to kindergarten and first grade is dependent upon reliable information regarding a student’s readiness and a thoughtful balancing of the myriad of factors implicated by the decision.

District Position

It is the presumption that students will enter kindergarten and first grade at the ages prescribed by state law. District 28 understands that students whose birth dates closely miss the cutoff for school attendance may have educational needs or demonstrated capabilities that warrant early admission to kindergarten or first grade.

  1. Those seeking early entrance into kindergarten or first grade must demonstrate a need for early education, as identified by their readiness levels in developmental areas.
  2. Students seeking early entrance to kindergarten/first grade must demonstrate capabilities warranting early admission. 
  3. Decisions regarding early entrance must include consideration of the above regardless of race, color, gender, religion, ancestry, national origin, marital status, age, disability, or sexual orientation of children and or their families. 

Requesting Early Entrance 

To be eligible for early entrance for kindergarten or first grade, children must turn 5 or 6 years old, respectively, by October 31 of the applicable school year. Parents/guardians wishing to apply for early entrance for their child must contact the District 28 Gifted/Talented Program and complete the Early Entrance Referral Parent Form.This form must be submitted by April 30 of the year prior to the desired year of early admittance. The school district will complete all necessary assessments.

A non-refundable fee of $450 is due at the time of submission of the Early Entrance Referral Form. This fee covers the assessment services provided as a part of considering early entrance to kindergarten or 1st grade.

Parents who decide to apply for early entrance for their child must sign consent for District 28 to complete an assessment of their child’s academic and social readiness. Based on the completed assessments, the designated staff will make a decision regarding the enrollment of the child. This decision is final.

Early Entrance Requirements 

  • Parents must provide proof that the child’s birthday falls between September 2 – October 31 of the desired year of early admittance.
  • If the child has previously attended a pre-school and/or state-accredited kindergarten program, a teacher-completed rating scale will be required and considered as a part of the early entrance assessment process.

Assessment requirements

  • The child must score within the very superior range (98th percentile or higher) of intelligence as measured by an individual test of cognitive ability (e.g. WISC, WPPSI, WASI, etc.) administered by certified District 28 staff.
  • The child must demonstrate above-average social-emotional development as determined by child interview, assessment observations, and/or adaptive behavior rating scales.
  • The child must score within the superior range (91st percentile or higher) of academic tasks across reading, writing, and mathematics.