Frequently Asked Questions
- Kindergarten Age Requirements and Enrollment
- Documents Needed
- Starting School
- Enrollment Steps at a Glance
Kindergarten Age Requirements and Enrollment
A: Which students need to be registered for kindergarten?
Parent/guardians may enroll their child for kindergarten if the child turns five years old on or before September 30, 2023.
B: When is the kindergarten registration window?
The kindergarten registration window opens April 19, 2023 and runs through the summer.
C. Where do I register my child for kindergarten?
As long as you register before the first day of the 23–24 school year, you will register your kindergarten child at your zoned elementary school. If you are unsure of the name of your zoned school, you can put your home address in the ACPS Attendance Zone Locator to determine your school.
If your family has a home language other than English and you are also enrolling 1st-12th students, you have the option of also registering your kindergartner at the ACPS EL Office when you enroll the older students. Information on enrolling older students with a home language other than, or in addition to, English is available at 703-619-8022. Beginning the first day of school, all kindergartners with a home language other than English should register at the ACPS EL Office.
D: Can I register my child for kindergarten if my child won’t turn five until October, but is very advanced?
No. Only children who turn five years old before September 30, 2023 may register for kindergarten. The age requirement is set by Virginia law and we are unable to make any exceptions. The Alexandria community has many enrichment opportunities if you are interested in keeping your child intellectually engaged before he or she is old enough for kindergarten enrollment.
E: What if I want to delay my child’s kindergarten enrollment until 24–25?
In Virginia, parents must ensure that a child, who has reached his or her 5th birthday on or before September 30 of any school year, attends school in compliance with the state compulsory attendance law as specified in §22.1-254 of the Code of Virginia. However, any child who will not have reached his sixth birthday on or before September 30 of each school year and whose parent or guardian notifies the school division that s/he does not wish the child to attend school until the following year because the child, in the opinion of the parent or guardian, is not mentally, physically, or emotionally prepared to attend school, may delay the child's attendance for one year.
If you are a parent who believes your child is not mentally, physically, or emotionally prepared to attend school, you should notify ACPS Student Services in writing (write to ACPS Student Services, 1340 Braddock Place, Alexandria, VA 22314 or or email: firstname.lastname@example.org) to indicate that you want to delay compulsory attendance until the following year. If a child will have reached his or her 6th birthday on or before September 30th, school enrollment is required.
F: Do I need to register my child for kindergarten if my child already attends an ACPS Preschool, Head Start or a community preschool program?
Yes, students who are currently in a preschool program, including ACPS Preschool, still need to complete kindergarten registration, including submission of all registration documents, as well as scheduling and attending a registration appointment with the registrar at their zoned school.
A: Are appointments required for kindergarten registration, or can I just walk-in?
All schools require registration appointments which can be scheduled by calling or emailing your zoned school registrar.
B: If I am new to ACPS, can I register all of my children at the kindergarten registration appointment?
In many cases, school registrars can accommodate this if the siblings are all of elementary age. Please ask the school registrar when making your kindergartner’s registration appointment.
If there are siblings of multiple grade levels, the ACPS EL Office will register all K–12 students in the family, as long as there is a home language other than, or in addition to, English.
C: What should I expect at my kindergarten registration appointment?
The school registrar will meet with you to go over your paperwork and to verify your original documents.
If there is a language other than English in the home, an EL assessor will briefly assess your child’s English proficiency and determine if your child is eligible for English Learner services.
D: Will somebody at the school help me if I don’t speak English?
If you would like translation services during your appointment, please ask the school registrar to call the Language Line for live translation. The kindergarten registration application is offered in English, Spanish, Amharic, Dari and Arabic.
E: Can my child’s grandmother, friend, or relative register my child?
Proof of legal guardianship or legal custody is required if the person registering the child is not listed as a parent on the child’s birth certificate. Proof of legal guardianship or custody requires a legal document signed by a judge verifying legal custody or legal guardianship. Note: A notarized statement from the parent is usually not sufficient for enrollment.
A: What do I need to bring to my registration appointment?
Copies of the completed enrollment forms and required documents need to be brought to the registration appointment. Even if you uploaded copies of your documents in the online registration portal, you still need to bring the original documents to your registration appointment.
B: Can I bring a copy of my child’s birth certificate, not the original?
Original birth certificates are required. We make a copy and the original is returned to you during the appointment.
If you are in need of an original birth certificate from a US state, there is a fairly simple process to request it. The link to the Virginia site is www.vdh.virginia.gov or you can find the process for other states here: www.cdc.gov/nchs/w2w/index.htm. Please contact your school registrar if you have a special situation, such as difficulty accessing a birth certificate from another country.
C: Where can I access the 2023–24 online registration form?
The 2023–2024 online registration portal is available on the website. The registration portal will require the applicants to create a password that allows them to revisit their account. It is advised that applicants write down their username and password.
Please do not complete the 2022-23 kindergarten registration form if you are enrolling for next year (the online system does not allow those applications to roll over into the 2023-24 school year application).
D: Can I fully register my child using the online portal, without scheduling an in-person appointment?
Applicants still need to schedule an appointment to have a registrar verify original documents, regardless of whether they use the paper registration form or the online portal. Using the online portal to register significantly streamlines the registration process.
E: If I uploaded all my documents, do I still need to bring the originals to the appointment?
Yes, we are required to review original documents. The documents are copied and directly returned to you during the registration appointment. The school does not keep any of your originals.
F: If I don’t have access to a computer, how can I register?
The online application can be completed on a phone or tablet. The Alexandria Library has a Chromebook Check out program if you are interested in free device rental. You may also access a PDF registration form on the ACPS enrollment page, or pick up a registration packet from your school in advance of your scheduled appointment.
G: What hours will the schools offer for registration appointments?
The hours vary by site. Please contact your school registrar for more information.
H: Do I need to bring my child to the kindergarten registration appointment?
Yes. Your child will meet the school registrar. In addition, if there is a language other than English in the home, an EL assessor will briefly assess your child’s English proficiency and determine if your child is eligible for English Learner services.
Please note that school tours will not be part of the registration appointment. Your child is encouraged to attend their school’s Step Up to Kindergarten experience which will be offered to all rising kindergartners who enroll before school begins.
I: Will my child’s zoned school have space for all kindergartners?
The kindergarten classes do sometimes reach capacity, but that rarely happens early in the registration window. If your child's zoned school is at capacity, ACPS will find a spot for your child at another ACPS school. You can increase the likelihood of reserving a seat in your child’s zoned school by completing registration (including submitting all required documents) by the beginning of August.
J: Can I start registration if I have everything except my child’s physical?
Yes. ACPS understands that sometimes it takes several months to secure an appointment for a kindergarten physical. It is fine if you want to submit the physical at a later date. Note that the physical must be completed before the child starts school in ACPS.
In general, it is advised that parents secure all other documents prior to the registration appointment so the family does not have to return to the school multiple times.
A: When is the first day of school?
The first day of school for traditional calendar schools is currently listed as Monday, August 21, 2023. Check the ACPS Calendar throughout the summer for updates.
Samuel Tucker Elementary implements a modified school year calendar. Students at Samuel Tucker Elementary begin school on July 25, 2023.
B: Is there before and after school care?
ACPS does not offer daily before and after care for kindergartners. There are community extended care opportunities that are sometimes housed in our ACPS school buildings. See information below:
City of Alexandria Recreation Program
Sometimes school PTAs offer a wide variety of after school enrichment programs. Check with your school PTA for more information.
C: Will transportation be provided once my child is in kindergarten?
ACPS provides safe transportation to and from school for enrolled students living beyond a one-mile walking distance from elementary and middle schools and a one and one-half mile walking distance from high schools. Learn more about bus transportation
D: How do I sign up for the school to provide breakfast and lunch for my child?
ACPS Office of School Nutrition Services include Lunch and Breakfast programs at all school locations, several After School Snack programs, and Supper programs in select schools. Learn more about nutrition services
Also note that free or reduced price meals are available for students who qualify. If interested in applying for free or reduced price meals, please request the school registrar provide information on the 2023–2024 meal application.
Enrollment Steps at a Glance
I’m a parent, what are my specific steps to registering my child?
All registration steps, including the enrollment form and providing documentation, must be completed for a child to be able to start school. Here are the steps to kindergarten registration
All registration steps, including the completion of enrollment forms, must be completed/provided for a child to be able to start school:
- Check to see if your child meets the age requirements.
- Use the Attendance Zone Locator to find your zoned school. You must register at the school as stated on the attendance zone locator.
- Gather the required documents.
- Complete the online enrollment forms: Online Student Registration Form for the 2023–24 school year in English | Español
- Visit your school to complete in-person verification of documents. Call the school or contact the school registrar first to find out what time to visit. You must bring all required documents to complete the registration process.