New state-wide birthday cut-off means changes for kindergartners - WKRN News 2

New state-wide birthday cut-off means changes for kindergartners

Posted: Updated: March 1, 2013 04:33 PM

Thousands of Tennessee children may not be eligible for kindergarten this fall, based on a new state law.

The law, passed last year, moves the birthday cut-off for children entering kindergarten back one month, from September 30 to August 31.

In Metro schools, kindergarten registration begins next week.

MNPS told Nashville's News 2 because of this new state law, about 600 students across the district won't be old enough to start classes this fall.

"The significance of it is that children will come to school a little bit older," said Peggy Brodien, the principal at Tom Joy Elementary School.

Brodien also said that one year in age difference can also make a big difference in the classroom.

"Sometimes we get children that are just turning five," explained Brodien, adding, "Then [we have] children that are getting ready to turn six, so we have a variation in developmental appropriateness in kindergarten."

In Metro schools, if your child turns five after August 31, but before September 30, they can be tested for "kindergarten readiness."

The tests will take place at the child's zoned school. If the child passes, they will be eligible for kindergarten, despite their birthday falling after the state-wide cut-off date.

But not every district in Middle Tennessee will allow children to test into kindergarten. Rutherford County does not have any exceptions.

The state law passed leaves the decision up to individual districts, whether they want to administer a test.

James Evans, the spokesperson for Rutherford County Schools, told Nashville's News 2 they opted not to administer a test, because it would require additional money.

In MNPS, if the child doesn't pass a kindergarten readiness test, they are eligible for Pre-K.

Metro schools get about 4,000 applications for Pre-K every year, with only about 2,500 available seats.

For more spaces to be made available, MNPS told Nashville's News 2 they need more funding.

Brodien said at Tom Joy Elementary School, they easily max out their two Pre-K classrooms, with a cap of 40 students each, every year.

MNPS believes in the long run, this change will ensure a better kindergarten environment for every child.

The birthday cut-off moves again in 2014, to August 15, and that will be the permanent date.

Metro schools' kindergarten registration is from Monday, March 4 through Friday, March 8.

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