When to Start

Starting with the 2024-2025 school year, under Connecticut State Law, 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.

Previously, the cut-off date was January 1st to attend Kindergarten and so a child could start as early as 4 years and 9 months old. 

Nursery school programs are still allowed to follow the January 1st cut-off date, although this may vary by program. This means that children with fall birthdays who start before they are three will not be able to move up to kindergarten after two years of preschool without an exception. Families in this situation will need to decide if they will look at the January 1st cut-off (and thus do 3 years of preK) or the September 1st cut-off (starting a year later) when making the decision to start preK for their child.

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 when they were born. 

Born Pre-K 3 Pre-K 4 Kindergarten
2018 Fall 2021 Fall 2022 Fall 2023
2019 Fall 2022 Fall 2023  
By 9/1/2019     Fall 2024
2020 Fall 2023 Fall 2024  
By 9/1/2020     Fall 2025
2021 Fall 2024 Fall 2025  
By 9/1/2021     Fall 2026
2022 Fall 2025 Fall 2026  
By 9/1/2022     Fall 2027
2023 Fall 2026 Fall 2027  
By 9/1/2023     Fall 2028
2024 Fall 2027 Fall 2028  
By 9/1/2024     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 5 year olds in their care leave for kindergarten and the other classes move up.