Ten Things You Need to Know if Your Child is Starting Kindergarten in 2012

Ten Things You Need to Know if Your Child is Starting Kindergarten in 2012

I spend a lot of time explaining the CPS kindergarten application process to parents. That's my job and I really do enjoy it. I can't help but wish, however, that my job wasn't so necessary. Our public school system here in Chicago is like a huge corporation that has grown and changed over the last 30 years according to the needs and wishes of individuals without any real strategic vision. I guess that's to be expected when they get a new CEO every few years.

Our public school system is large and inconsistent. Yes, there are lots of options. But figuring out when, where, and how to apply for those options is a part-time job!

So, here's an easy ten-item primer to get you started.


1. If your child is four START NOW. In fact, you should have started last year but it's not too late. You can catch up.

2. Your child must be at least five but not older than six by September 1, 2012 in order to start kindergarten. You are not allowed to hold your child back even if s/he was born ON September 1st and you really feel that s/he is not ready for kindergarten.

3. You have a neighborhood school and they have to take your child. You can find out which one is your neighborhood school at the CPS School Locator Website.

4. You don't HAVE to send your child to your neighborhood school. You can apply elsewhere.

5. If you want to apply to other public schools, like Magnet or Regional Gifted Centers, that process happens through the Options for Knowledge program.

6. Applications for Options for Knowledge are due December 16th and are submitted electronically.

7. Magnet Schools don't have an attendance boundary. All those kids get in by lottery.

8. A Magnet Cluster School is not a Magnet School.

9. The Selective Enrollment Schools (gifted and classical) select children based on test score. The testing happens in the winter before they start kindergarten. No one knows what's on the test.

10. If you don't already, read CPS Obsessed and District 299.

Ready? GO!



Want more Little Kids, Big City? LIKE me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Filed under: Uncategorized


Leave a comment
  • Very informative! Thanks so much, Christine!

Leave a comment