Kindergarten Requirements for the State of Georgia
The state of Georgia places a strong emphasis on the early educations of its young citizens, with standards in place guiding education in core areas all the way from birth through 12th grade. Although full-day programs are not required in Georgia at this time, the state still boasts a higher than average full-day attendance rate at between 80 to 89 percent. Here are the top laws and requirements for students entering kindergarten in the state of Georgia.
Kindergarten Not Mandatory
Kindergarten attendance is not mandatory in the state of Georgia. However, individual school districts are required by law to offer at minimum half-day programs to their young students.
Full-Day Kindergarten Not Required
Georgia does not require districts to offer full-day kindergarten programs. District kindergarten programs must run at minimum 180 days per year and for 4.5 hours per day for full-day kindergarten programs (which amounts to around 810 hours per year). According to an Education Week study published in 2015, between 80 and 89 percent of Georgia’s kindergarten students were enrolled in full-day programs.
Educational Standards: Common Core Plus Georgia Performance Standards
Common Core standards were adopted by the state of Georgia’s Board of Education in July, 2010, with full implementation in the 2014–2015 school year. These standards have built on the Georgia Performance Standards previously in place and are officially called the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards (CCGPS).
Current Age Requirements
To attend kindergarten in the state of Georgia, children must have turned age 5 by September 1 of that same school year. The compulsory school age in Georgia is 6 years old.
Early Entry Rules
Early entrance to kindergarten is allowed in Georgia under a couple of conditions. The child needs to be turning 5 by December 31 and have been a resident of another state for greater than 2 years where he or she was enrolled in a kindergarten program.
Required Immunizations and Available Exemptions
In order to attend school in Georgia, students must have proof of all required immunizations (or a valid exemption as discussed below). Required immunizations include DTaP, polio, MMR, hepatitis B, hepatitis A, and varicella. See the list of required vaccinations here.
Vaccination exemptions are allowable on both medical and religious grounds. A medical exemption needs to be marked on the Georgia Immunization Certificate by a physician, APRN, or PA and must be reevaluated on an annual basis. Religious exemptions are obtained by submitting a signed and dated notarized affidavit stating that immunizations are against the family’s religious beliefs. In the case of an outbreak, exempted children will not be allow to attend school during that time.
Pre-Entrance Testing/Screening Requirements
There are no kindergarten entrance assessment requirements specified in Georgia state statute. However, Georgia kindergarteners participate in the Georgia Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills to provide cumulative evidence of a student’s readiness for 1st grade.
Maximum Teacher to Pupil Ratio
In Georgia, the maximum allowable teacher to student ratio is 1 teacher to 18 students, or 1 teacher to 20 students when there is a full-time aide present for core subjects.
Early Learning Standards
In Georgia, early learning standards have been established for every year of a child’s life through age 3, as well as for the preschool years. These standards are closely aligned to kindergarten standards and include language and cognitive development, as well as emotional, social, and physical development.
All of these laws and requirements are reviewed in great detail on the Georgia Department of Education website.