Education Commission of the States has researched kindergarten policies in all states to provide this comprehensive resource. Click on the questions below for 50-state comparisons showing how all states approach specific kindergarten policies Or, choose to view a specific state’s approach by going to the individual state profiles page.

Key takeaways

  • Kindergarten entrance age:
    • In half of the 50 states plus D.C., students must turn age 5 by the end of September to attend kindergarten.
    • Nineteen states requires students to turn age 5 on or before Sept. 1.
  • Kindergarten attendance requirement:
    • Fifteen states plus D.C. require children to attend kindergarten at age five or require kindergarten attendance prior to enrolling in first grade.
    • Thirty-five states do not require kindergarten attendance.
  • Compulsory school age:
    • Most states require children to attend school by age 6 (26 states) or age 7 (14 states).
    • In eight states – Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Virginia – plus D.C., the compulsory school age is 5.
    • Pennsylvania and Washington require children to attend school at age 8.

50-state comparisons 

  1. Compulsory School Age
  2. Kindergarten Entrance Age
  3. Age Exemptions / Waivers
  4. Child Must Attend Kindergarten
  5. District Must Offer Kindergarten
  6. District Offering Exemptions / Notes
  7. Minimum Required Days / Hours for Kindergarten
  8. Kindergarten Entrance Assessments
  9. Curriculum and Alignment
  10. Kindergarten Standards
  11. Teacher:Student Ratios
  12. Access to Kindergarten: Age Issues in State Statutes

Related resources

Staff contact
Emily Workman

 PUBLISHED: March 1, 2014

 AUTHOR(S): Emily Workman



 STATE(S): Nationwide

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