Transition to Kindergarten

School Readiness

Did you know that school readiness actually starts at birth? The experiences a child has during their early childhood will shape who they are and how they will handle the transition to school. Each child is different. Every child has had different experiences in the early years. Children develop many skills during this time, often excelling in one area vs. another. Although you may question if your child is ready, Kindergarten entry should be based on chronological age not on mastery of skills. All schools should be prepared to accommodate children at their current skill level.

Pre-K Registration

Children who turn 3 and 4 years old on or before August 31st may be eligible for free early childhood education programs in New Hanover County. Pre-K Registration begins around February 1st!  For more details click here.

Kindergarten Registration

New Hanover County Schools Kindergarten Registration begins each year on March 1st.  Children must be 5 years old before or on August 31st.

NHCS 2024 information flyer click here.
NHCS enrollment webpage click here.

What can I do to prepare my child for Kindergarten?

To find examples of things you can do to help your child, see our guide Preparing Your Child for Kindergarten: An Activity Guide for Families . Another great resource, although lengthy, is Foundations: Early Learning Standards for North Carolina Preschoolers and Strategies for Guiding Their Success . In this guide, each chapter covers a different domain with specific strategies for families to try.

Guidelines to help your child successfully transition into Kindergarten

Children who are capable in the following areas have an easier adjustment to school, but remember, every child is different. Your child may excel in one of these areas and be behind in another. That is typical and should not be a reason to hold your child back.

  • Can communicate their needs, wants and thoughts
  • Can take turns and share
  • Is enthusiastic and curious
  • Can sit still and pay attention for short periods of time

Is my child ready for Kindergarten? How can I be sure?

Have you ever wondered if there is a checklist of things a child should be doing before they enter school? Have you been told children should know how to count to ten or identify basic shapes and primary colors, etc.? When should you start preparing your child for Kindergarten? As a parent, you want your child to succeed in school. The information on this page, as well as our other School Readiness pages, will answer some of these questions and give you the tools you need to prepare your child for school success. (source)

What should I expect from my child’s elementary school?

Here are some quality factors to look for to help you determine if your child’s school is ready.

  • Staff should work to make you and your child feel welcome and your child should feel at ease
  • The school curriculum in Kindergarten and the early grades build on prior learning
  • The school takes into account individual differences in language, culture and prior experiences
  • Teachers understand and use practices that promote young children’s optimal learning and development
  • Teachers have appropriate resources and class sizes are small enough to meet children’s individual needs.

Registration Details

When registering your child for Kindergarten, make sure you take the following items with you:

  • A certified birth certificate (not a copy) showing your child turns five on or before August 31st
  • Child’s Immunization Record
  • Proof of Residency (copy of lease, deed, property tax statement or homeowners/rental insurance policy)
  • (Optional) Child’s Social Security Card
  • Your child must have a kindergarten health assessment completed by a primary care physician. You have 30 days past the first day of school to turn this form into your child’s school. We recommend you schedule this appointment as soon as possible. NHC Schools will not accept forms completed more than one year before the first day of school.
  • Click here to find your child’s school and registration information
  • Click here to find the school calendar