Congratulations! You have completed the Countdown to Kindergarten process and you and your child are embarking together on an exciting journey of learning and discovery. Kindergarten in the Boston Public Schools typically begins the Monday following Labor Day. The following suggestions will help make those first days of school go more smoothly. We thank you for choosing the Boston Public Schools.
Develop a Plan for the First Day of Kindergarten. Some schools have strict policies and prefer parents to say goodbye outside, most would ask you to bring the child to the classroom and spend 10-15 minutes with the student. Once you know your school's guidelines, you can prepare your child ahead of time so she will know what to expect. If your school has a policy that invites you to come into the classroom, talk about how long you will be there (10-15 minutes may be all you need). When saying goodbye, mean it. If you anticipate a difficulty might occur for your child, when it comes to rest time or separating in the morning, feel free to discuss it with your child's teacher or principal so that together you can ease the transition for your child. Remember you know your child better than anyone else.
Taking the Bus. If your child will be attending BPS and has been assigned a bus, you may want to take off the morning of the first day of school to see him off, and then follow the bus to get to know the route your child will take to school. Please include a name tag with your child information so that the school knows where the child belongs.
HINT: For the first day of school, dress your child in comfortable clothing. Have him wear elastic waistband pants (zippers, belts, and buttons may be too much during the first couple of days). This way if he waits until the last minute to use the restroom, it will be easier for him to pull his pants down. Also, if your child does not know how to tie his own shoes, have him wear Velcro or slip-on shoes. Once your child feels comfortable and he is used to the new routines you can let him dress how he chooses.
Your 'Start School' Checklist
Complete in September. The steps you need to take are listed below and all relevant documents are available on the downloads tab.
Summertime is a great time to get involved in fun social and learning activities with your child to help him or her get ready for kindergarten. Click on Activities tabs or Talk, Read, Play website for ideas, and take advantage of the free activities through your 'I'm Going to Kindergarten' readiness materials (see below.)
Transitions can be very challenging for anyone, adults and children alike, especially the transition into kindergarten. Here are a few suggestions that may help:
Create Routines by setting a bedtime and wake-up time, and stick to it. This helps children know what to expect and ensures they get enough rest.
Read Books about going to school, but also continue to read books with your child for pleasure. Read over and over if your child likes the book. Visit a Read Boston Storymobile event and your child can take a free book home or sign up for a library card at your local library branch and enjoy a huge selection of books that you can borrow and enjoy at home. Make sure you pick up a Summer Reading list and have fun reading.
Encourage Independence by allowing your child to make certain choices such as 'do you want to wear your purple shirt or the yellow one?' Allow your child to dress him or herself and let them button, zip and put on their own shoes. Teach your child how to open juice boxes and food containers. These skills will help make the transition into the classroom a little easier.
If your child has been assigned a bus (distances greater than one mile from your home), you will receive bus details in the last half of August, after most assignments have been processed and routes laid-out. If you do not receive an assignment, or have questions about the bus, you can contact BPS Transportation at (617) 635-9520. We will have busses at the Boston Children's museum where you can ask questions and participate in a bus safety session. This helps ease any anxiety for the students.
Communicate any address changes to your new school and to BPS by visiting a Welcome Center with proofs of your new address so that you will continue to receive important notifications mailed to you.
Your 'Get Ready for School' Checklist
Complete during July to August. The steps you need to take are listed below and all relevant PDFs and links available on the Downloads tab!
Schools invite newly assigned kindergarten families to Welcome Sessions in the spring. These sessions are a great opportunity to meet other kindergarten families, meet your principals and kindergarten teachers, and put your child at ease about their upcoming transition. It also allows you to build relationships with school staff and learn about your new school's culture and curriculum. Although school won't officially begin until September 2018, schools look forward to getting to know you and your child in the spring. When you visit, ask the principal about guidelines and procedures for the first day of school.
Does your school have a uniform policy? If you are unsure, make sure to read about school uniforms download the school uniform PDF (Uniform PDF will be updated in June 2018) or you can ask your school when you visit. Great shops for uniforms include L&M, Target, Sears, Marshalls, Wal-Mart, Old Navy, and many other discount stores.
Does your school offer before-or after-school services? this is important especially for families entering K1, most after-school programs due to licensing regulations are not licensed for 4-year-olds. Please check with your school in regards to after-schools and age requirements. If a school has after-school program, ask for an application, complete it and leave a deposit. Enrollment in school-based programs is often limited and frequently on a first-come, first served basis. If your school does not offer care and/or you need help finding other options, visit www.bostnet.org for a complete listing of programs in Boston.
Your 'Meet Your School' Checklist
Complete during April to June. The steps you need to take are listed below and all relevant documents and links are at the bottom of the page!
For School Year: 2021-2022
The Boston Public Schools offer a variety of academic, social, and cultural experiences that are hard to match anywhere else. Families can make choices from a customized list of schools that typically includes more than 15 elementary schools. When you register, we strongly encourage you to pick at least five schools, but you may list as many as you wish. Since the schools differ a lot, it is helpful to think about what factors are important to you and your child.
Registration is ongoing; however, for your best chance at a school assignment of your choice, it is important to register during Round 1 (for K0 and K1) January 5, 2021- January 29, 2021. For K2 February 8-April 5, 2021 All students who register within the same round are assigned to schools at the same time when the round closes.
First Round Registration for the 2021-2022 school year for K0 and K1 runs the month of January 5, 2021- January 29, 2021. For best service and reduced wait times, please register according to the parent/guardian’s last name:
A-I: January 5-8, 2021
J-Q: January 11-15, 2021.
R-Z: January 19-22, 2021
Open to all: January 25-January 29
NEW! For K2 First Round begins February 8- April 5, 2021
BPS Age Requirement
Your child must be 5 by September 1, 2021, to register for K2 kindergarten
Your child must be 4 by September 1, 2021, to register for K1 kindergarten
Your child must be or 3 by September 1, 20201, to register for K0 kindergarten
K1 and K0 seats are NOT guaranteed, so register during the First Round for your best chance of getting a seat!
For students with disabilities, placement in a school is determined by their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and the availability of appropriate seats. While families are able to indicate school choices through the regular assignment process, placement decisions are made by the Boston Public Schools’ Sped team. Students with low levels of need (i.e. Pull-Out or Push-In Resources) can have these needs met in any district school on their Home-Based List. However, students with higher levels of needs may qualify for program seats from across a broader cluster of schools. The SPED tab on your DiscoverBPS results page will show you which schools may be available to your child. Please note that while the school list reflects all programs offered, placement is highly individualized and will depend on a student’s specific needs, as determined by the IEP. For questions about SWD placements, please call 617-635-8599.
Countdown to Kindergarten Registration Guide
"Your 'Register for Schools' Checklist
If you share housing and the lease is not in your name, please bring this completed form with you at the time of registration. BPS Affidavit
The steps you need to take are listed below and all relevant documents and links are indicated at the bottom of the page.
It's time to Discover BPS
Families should start preparing for Kindergarten (K1 for 4 years old and K2 for 5 years old) a full year in advance of their start date, which is the September before their child turns 4 or 5. For a few families, it may start sooner. Boston Public Schools (BPS) has a number of a very limited number of seats for K0 programs for children who are 3 by September 1. There are 76 Early Learning Centers, Elementary, and K-8 schools in the City of Boston. Families can choose from a number of schools that are located close to their homes.
Attend an Information Sessions for answers to all your questions about BPS schools, the registration process, and more. Starting in November, Information Sessions provide tips on the transition and kindergarten selection/enrollment process, along with suggested activities to help families prepare for a successful entry into kindergarten.
During School Preview Times, the Boston Public Schools invites families to get to know the schools. With more than 73 early learning, elementary and K-8 schools in the City, visiting schools is the best way to decide which ones might be good matches for your child and your family. If you cannot attend a School Preview Time session, call the principal to set up a visit. In most cases, you will have the opportunity to walk around the school, talk with staff and see classrooms. You may be able to meet school parents or the parent liaison.
Your 'Visit & Choose Schools' Checklist
Complete from October to January. The steps you need to take are listed below and all relevant documents and links are indicated in red in the Quick Links box to the right!