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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.