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luckymee
luckymee asks:
Q:

Is it against the law in Maryland to skip Kindergarten?

My daughter was born in September 2003.  She took an exam to enter Kindergarten this fall and passed.  She is not even five yet and is already at 1st grade level math and Reading.  I strongly feel academically, emotionally, and physically (90 Percentile in height) she should be in 1st grade.   I feel if she goes to Kindergarten this coming fall, she will be bored.  We recently moved to Maryland and I mostly rely on my Aunt (She has a six year old son) to navigate through the educational system here.  She is the one who told me about the early entrance exam for kindergarten.  When i mentioned to her that i would like try to get my daughter into first grade, My aunt told me its against Maryland Law.  Is this true?  Is there a law or a rule against Skipping Kindergarten in Maryland?  I can supplement my daughter's education at home, but I can€™t carry the whole burden.  I feel if she attends Kindergarten this year, I will be doing all the teaching and her school time will be playtime for her.  So my question is, is it against Maryland law or rules to allow children to skip Kindergarten? If there's no such rule, then what are the steps i need to take to get her into first grade this school year?  
In Topics: Kindergarten readiness
> 60 days ago

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Expert

kat_eden
Feb 11, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Hi luckymee -

Maryland actually does require that kids attend kindergarten.  However, as a mom, I'd recommend kindergarten even if it wasn't compulsory.

I think the academic lessons learned in kindergarten are almost less important than all the other things you learn (social skills, following the daily schedule, doing homework, eating lunch in the cafeteria, completing work independently, how to manage recess, etc. etc. etc.) While she may be just fine academically if she started in first grade, she'd likely feel a little overwhelmed by all the other stuff. My son is in first grade now and I was really surprised how much higher expectations this year than last. Much less hand-holding and understanding.

One option may be to work with the school to let your daughter do some first grade work in the kindergarten room. The kindergarten and first grade teachers may be willing to team up to make sure your daughter is challenged academically while still participating in all that kindergarten has to offer.

Good luck to you and your daughter!

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Additional Answers (3)

Seann
Seann writes:
Hi Luckymee.  The Maryland Mandatory Kindergarten Attendance Law stipulates the following requirement:

"a child who resides in Maryland to attend a public or nonpublic kindergarten program regularly during the school year before entering the first grade unless the child is enrolled in an alternative program or is receiving home instruction..."

You can read more about the law at the web site below.

A strict interpretation of the frequently asked questions from that website would suggest that parents are not allowed to accelerate their child by enrolling them directly in 1st grade, but you should speak directly with your school district to confirm if this is a possibility for your child.  You may also want to inquire if there are any k-1 programs at your school that combine a kindergarten and first grade class under the instruction of one teacher.  These are common in the public schools in our area.

An additional factor you may want to consider in your decision is the social and emotional benefits your child might receive by attending kindergarten.  In today's society we put an increasing amount of emphasis on academic performance at an early age.  But adapting to the social environment at school and getting along with ones peers is also a major hurdle that kids must overcome in their first year at school.  Dealing with this challenge in a Kindergarten class may be much easier for your child, especially given she will be one of the younger ones enrolling.  Good luck!!

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Mom0199
Mom0199 writes:
Hi,  

It is mandatory to ENROLL your child in the Kindergarten program.  That being said, you may request testing for your child and the State will complete that in 60 days.  IF she scores in the 90th percentile for all the testing and IF her IQ is over 130, she can skip up to First grade.  I have four children and did go through this process with my third child.  We are in Anne Arundel County and they frown on "skipping" children a grade.  That being said, we were given the negatives of skipping her and then were given the right to choose what we wanted to do.  Fortunately, our school tested her and skipped her within a week.  I believe if you go to MD COMAR laws you can see the rules for yourself.  My daughter did great with the standardized testing as I knew she would.  I was more worried about the psychological testing for IQ, but we had a great psychologist and she was fine.  

If you truly believe your child should be skipped, you are her best advocate and you need to do the research because the schools will not help you in the process, but they will follow the testing procedures and if your child qualifies give you the option to skip her a grade.  

My daughter just finished elementary school and was one of two children in her graduating class that made Principal's Honor Roll for the whole of her elementary years.  

Good Luck,

Beth
> 60 days ago

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Louiseasl
Louiseasl , Child Professional writes:
Hello and thank you for writing to JustAsk.

The best way to get your answer is to discuss your concerns and options with the local school board where you reside.  Kindergarten is mandatory in Maryland, however, there may be a procedure for you to homeschool your daughter, if that is what you wish.

Good luck!
> 60 days ago

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