Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?

  • GenericLogo

    Academic Readiness

    As in all areas, there are many academic differences among students who begin kindergarten with Durham Public Schools. There are no academic requirements that students must pass to begin kindergarten. Our teachers are ready to meet your students where they are and help spark their limitless potential.

    Many parents express concern about the testing or assessment that begins a kindergartner's school experience. However, these tests are critical tools that are used to determine a baseline or starting point for student learning and to inform teachers' instruction for each child.

    Students are typically assessed on their letter knowledge, concepts about print, reading level, basic math skills (such as counting, shapes, colors), and language skills. These assessments help teachers to identify where children are academically in order to create the best learning environment for each child. Many parents often enjoy meeting with their child's teacher at the end of the year to compare where their children started and how far they have come! 

    What Can I Do Now to Prepare My Child? 

    The Five Areas of School Readiness

    You can help determine if your child is ready for kindergarten by understanding the five areas of school readiness: 

    • Language and Literacy
    • Cognition and General Knowledge
    • Approaches toward Learning
    • Physical Well Being and Motor Development
    • Social and Emotional Development 


    In addition, you can practice the following with your child to help them prepare for life in the classroom:

            Routines and Transitions

      • Transitioning from one activity to another
      • Transitioning from one location to another


           Meal Skills

      • Opening food items (sandwich bags, juice boxes etc.)
      • Drinking without a straw
      • Carrying a tray
      • Making food choices


            Social Skills

      • Interaction with adults
      • Interaction with peers
      • Using coping skills
      • Solving disagreements
      • Separating from parents


           Expressing Needs and Wants

      • Asking for help
      • Making choices; preferred activities, food choices etc.


          Self-Help Skills

      • Waiting
      • Taking turns
      • Personal care: Hand-washing, toileting, and nose blowing
      • Managing clothing
      • Managing personal items such as toys


         Visit our Ignite! website for more activities!


    Durham Public Schools helps to prepare students for success throughout their academic career by providing:


    • A balanced approach including thinking, listening, reading, writing and word study
    • Independent, modeled, guided and shared instructional approaches
    • Informal and formal assessments



    • Development of number sense and reasoning using a conceptual approach
    • Understanding of operations and problem solving
    • Hands on learning encouraged through student exploration
    • Informal and formal assessments


    Social Emotional Support

    • Availability of Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers
    • Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS)
    • Restorative Practices
    • Mental health support
    • Safety and health as a priority
    • Focus on equity 


    You can also get more support and resources from the Family Academy:



    Early Readiness and Early Admission to Kindergarten

    Some children may be ready to begin kindergarten earlier than others. Durham Public Schools has established procedures for evaluating if a child is ready to begin kindergarten early. For a four-year-old child to be admitted into kindergarten, they must have reached their fourth birthday by April 16 of the instructional year for admission.

    Phase I: Intent to Apply and Evaluation

    Intent to Apply

    The parent or guardian seeking early admission to kindergarten must notify the DPS Office of Advanced Academics or the child’s base school within the first thirty (30) calendar days of the new instructional school year requesting an Intent to Apply and Notice of Independent Evaluation Form (AIG - K1). CLICK HERE


    To determine eligibility status, students must score at the 98th percentile on a national aptitude (IQ) test AND 98th percentile on a nationally normed achievement test provided by a psychologist licensed in North Carolina. All evaluations must be administered after April 16 following the child’s fourth birthday. A report of the testing results must be provided to the Office of Advanced Academics with the Intent to Apply and Notice of Independent Evaluation Form (AIG – K1).

    Note: Obtaining the aptitude and achievement assessment results is the sole responsibility of the parent(s)/guardian(s) and undertaken at their expense; DPS does not provide any screening for the purpose of early admission to kindergarten. 

    Upon successful completion of Phase One, qualifying students will move to the second phase of performance review and interviews by the school principal and his/her Early Admission Committee.

    Early Admission Application and Overview


    For more information, please contact Laura Parrott, Coordinator of Advanced Academics, at