Kindergarten Requirements for the State of Hawaii
Kindergarten education has become a priority for Hawaii in recent years. On May 1, 2014, former Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie signed a senate bill into law that made kindergarten mandatory for children in the state who are 5 years old by July 31 of the current school year. In addition, Hawaii has developed a series of “General Learner Outcomes for Kindergarten” that are intended to serve as guidelines for teachers and students to determine student progress. Here are the top laws and requirements for students entering kindergarten in the state of Hawaii.
Starting with the 2014–2015 school year children in Hawaii are required by law to attend kindergarten. However, all districts must offer at minimum a half-day kindergarten according to state statute. All charter schools in Hawaii are exempt from offering kindergarten programs.
Full-Day Kindergarten Not Required
Full-day kindergarten programs are not mandatory by Hawaii law. However, Hawaii requires all its kindergarten programs to be offered a minimum of 180 days per year. According to an Education Week study published in 2015, 90 percent or above of Hawaii’s kindergarten students were enrolled in full-day programs.
Educational Standards: Common Core
Common Core standards were adopted in the state of Hawaii in June, 2010, with full implementation in the 2013–2014 school year. A Standards Implementation Process model was put into place to aid in the transition period.
Current Age Requirements
According to Hawaii statute, kindergarten students must turn age 5 on or before July 31 of that same school year to be eligible to attend. The compulsory school age for children is age 6 by January 1.
Early Entry Rules
Early entrance to kindergarten is not offered, with the exception of children who attended kindergarten in an accredited school out of state and are part of a military family.
Required Immunizations and Available Exemptions
In order to attend school in Hawaii, students must have proof of all required immunizations (or a valid exemption as discussed below). Required immunizations include DTaP, polio, MMR, hepatitis B, and varicella. See the list of required vaccinations here.
In Hawaii, vaccination exemption are issued to students based on medical and religious grounds. For religious exemptions, a form must be obtained and completed at the school your child will attend. Medical exemptions must be obtained from a U.S. licensed physician.
Pre-Entrance Testing/Screening Requirements
The Hawaii State School Readiness Assessment (HSSRA) is administered on a state-wide level and measures 5 domains of kindergarten readiness: approaches to learning, concepts and skills (literacy and math), school behaviors and skills, social emotional behaviors, and physical well being.
Maximum Teacher to Pupil Ratio
Maximum teacher to pupil ratios are not specified in Hawaii statute
Curricula Aligned across All Grade Levels
According to Hawaii state law, curriculum alignment starts in kindergarten and must specifically address state established contents and performance standards.
All of these laws and requirements are reviewed in great detail on the Hawaii State Department of Education website.