Starting off strong


We’re glad you’re here

Kindergarten is a new and exciting time for everyone involved. Kindergarten also is the foundation for your child’s career in the school system. Full-day kindergarten is offered at every elementary school.

Here’s what you need to know and do to get your child ready to start kindergarten.

Kindergarten begins Tuesday, September 5, 2023

The process


Age requirement

By law, children must be 5 years of age by Aug. 31 to enroll in school for the upcoming year. You can check your child’s skill levels and readiness for kindergarten by downloading the following guide:

Entering kindergarten early

A child who turns 5 on Sept. 1 or between Sept. 1 and Oct. 15 may still be eligible to begin kindergarten. They must reside within district boundaries, meet the early entrance requirements and successfully complete the process.


What school your child will attend

Consider whether you’d like your child to attend their neighborhood school or participate in a specialized language-based program. In some cases, this may be the same school.

If you’d like your child to attend their neighborhood school, see step 3.

Language programs

If you’re interested in having your child participate in one of the language programs, which begin at the kindergarten level and require an application, please choose from the options below.

Project-based program

If you’re interested in having your child participate in a project-based program, which begin at the kindergarten level and require an application, please choose from the option below.


When to register

You can register your child starting in mid-January of the year that they will begin kindergarten in the fall.

What school serves your address? Find out using our online boundary map.


How to register your child

Registration can be done online.

Leading up to the first day


Spring: Evening preschool

Who: All kids ages 4 and 5 who have not started kindergarten are welcome.

What: A program that helps kids make the transition to school. Students are acquainted with their new surroundings, meet future classmates and teachers and work on building the knowledge and skills they’ll need at school.

When: The program takes place the spring before students enter kindergarten.

Where: The program is located at different schools across the district. All families who live in the district are welcome to participate, even if they do not live within the boundaries of the school where the evening preschool is located. Transportation is not provided.

Cost: Free.


April – August: Visitation

After you have registered your child, please visit their school’s website to find out about visitations.


Summer: Getting ready

Find ideas on what to work on each day before the first day of kindergarten.


Late summer: Jump Start

All incoming kindergarten students are invited to attend Kindergarten Jump Start at their school. Children will become familiar with school routines and begin learning in this free program.

What to expect


Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills

WaKIDS provides a snapshot of where your incoming kindergartner is in their development. The information helps teachers make instructional decisions and individualize learning.


What your child is learning

You can support your child in school by knowing what they are learning and expected to know by each grade’s completion. Your child’s teacher will focus their classroom activities on these expectations.

Kindergarten Jump Start

Who: Incoming kindergarteners.

What: A free program where students participate in a variety of math, literacy and hands-on activities; learn school routines; and become familiar with their new surroundings.

When: A few weeks before the school year begins.

Where: All VPS elementary schools.

Why: Data shows that students who attend Jump Start are better prepared for kindergarten than children who do not participate. They also gain confidence, leadership skills and enthusiasm for school. Don’t miss this opportunity to give your child a successful transition to kindergarten!

Yes! Jump Start benefits all incoming VPS kindergarten students, including those who have attended preschool programs. Everyone is encouraged to participate.

Not only do Jump Start students begin the school year better prepared for kindergarten instruction, they also develop confidence and leadership skills. Good attendance habits developed during Jump Start can create a foundation for academic achievement throughout a child’s education.

Jump Start also gives parents a boost, too. Parents have opportunities to conference with their children’s teachers and learn about school procedures such as buses and lunch payments.

All Vancouver Public Schools elementary schools offer Jump Start.

Bus transportation is not provided.

Contact the school where your child will attend kindergarten. If the school office is closed for the summer, you can sign up your child on the first day of Jump Start, when you also will be asked to register them for kindergarten.
Yes! Children are welcome to begin Jump Start at any time during the program and continue for any amount of time, though full participation is the best way to maximize the experience.

During Jump Start, teachers spend time getting to know all students. Class lists are not finalized until after Jump Start. At that time, parents will be contacted by their child’s kindergarten teacher to schedule a family connection conference.

Your child does not need to bring anything to Jump Start. All materials and snacks are provided; however, students are welcome to bring a backpack and waterbottle. If your child has supplies for the school year, they can bring them on the first day of school.