When to Start

For the 2023-2024 school year, under Connecticut State Law, children must be age 5 on or before January 1st to attend public school that year, and thus could start Kindergarten as early as 4 years and 9 months old.  As a result, most nursery school programs require that the child must turn 3 by January 1st to ensure a fall start of that same year and thus could start a Pre-K 3 program at a school year program as early as 2 years and 9 months old.

Legislation was signed into law by the Governor on June 27, 2023 that will change the kindergarten start age for the 2024-2025 school year. Under HB6880, Sec. 3. Section 10-15c, effective for July 2024, children must be age 5 on or before September 1st to attend public school that year. This means they will start Kindergarten at age 5 (or 4 years and 360ish days if school opens in late August). HB5003 provides a way for parents/guardians to request an exception so their child can start early if developmentally appropriate.

Note that year-round childcare centers and family childcare providers offer a preschool curriculum for 3 and 4 year olds and can take children as young as 6 weeks if they have an infant/toddler program. So if you need care to work your child does not need to sign up for both childcare and a school year nursery/preschool program.

So, when can your child start school? This chart* shows when they are eligible based on their birth year under the current law. Note if the child is born on January 1st then subtract 1 from their birth year to use this chart.

*This chart has not yet been updated to reflect the new law as the preschool programs are still determining the cut-off ages for the transition period.

Born Pre-K 3 Pre-K 4 Kindergarten
2017 Fall 2020 Fall 2021 Fall 2022
2018 Fall 2021 Fall 2022 Fall 2023
2019 Fall 2022 Fall 2023 Fall 2024
2020 Fall 2023 Fall 2024 Fall 2025
2021 Fall 2024 Fall 2025 Fall 2026
2022 Fall 2025 Fall 2026 Fall 2027
2023 Fall 2026 Fall 2027 Fall 2028
2024 Fall 2027 Fall 2028 Fall 2029

Preschool enrollment begins during the winter-early spring of the start year, depending on the program. See the Preschool Options or Kindergarten Registration pages for specific registration dates. Most year-round childcare providers accept children at any time, based on availability, but will have more openings at the end of the summer as the 4 year olds in their care leave for kindergarten and the other classes move up.