Kindergarten Requirements for the State of Indiana
In Indiana, kindergarten attendance is not mandatory by law and neither is full-day kindergarten. However, the state legislature and governor have placed an increasing emphasis on early elementary education in recent years, passing a statute in which funding for voluntary full-day programs became available starting in the 2012–2013 school year. The state was the first to drop Common Core, which has been replaced by rigorous state standards that align the K-12 curriculums. Here are the top laws and requirements in place for students entering kindergarten in the state of Indiana.
Kindergarten Not Mandatory
In the state of Indiana, children are not required to attend kindergarten. However, it is mandatory for districts to offer a minimum of a half-day kindergarten program to their students.
Full-Day Kindergarten: Voluntary and State Funded
Kindergarten is not mandatory in the state of Indiana, and neither are full-day programs. However, Indiana has provided funding for universal, voluntary full-day kindergarten since the 2012–2013 school year. There is no minimum required days/hours specified in Indiana statute. According to an Education Week study published in 2015, between 70 and 79 percent of Indiana’s kindergarten students were enrolled in full-day programs.
Educational Standards: Common Core Dropped
Although Indiana was among the first of the states to adopt Common Core standards in 2010, it was also the first state to officially drop them in 2014. In April, 2014, the Indiana State Board of Education approved the adoption of new state standards for English/language arts and mathematics. These standards were approved of and validated by the Indiana Education Roundtable, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, the Indiana Department of Education, the Indiana State Board of Education, and the Indiana Center for Education and Career Innovation. State standards have also been adopted in the areas of social studies and world languages.
Current Age Requirements
To be eligible for kindergarten, a child must have turned age 5 on or before August 1. In Indiana, the compulsory school age is 7 years old. However, if younger children are enrolled in school, then they automatically fall under compulsory schooling laws.
Early Entry Rules
In Indiana, early admittance to kindergarten (under the age of 5) is available and is left to the discretion of individual districts. School districts are required to adopt a procedure for parental appeal for an age exemption.
Required Immunizations and Available Exemptions
In order to attend school in Indiana, students must have proof of all required immunizations (or a valid exemption as discussed below). Required immunizations include DTaP, polio, MMR, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and varicella. See the list of required vaccinations here.
Indiana offers immunization exemptions on both medical and religious grounds. For religious exemptions, the objection by the parent or guardian must be made in writing, signed by the child’s parent/guardian, and delivered to the school.
Pre-Entrance Testing/Screening Requirements
Districts in the state are required to offer entrance tests to students in kindergarten (as well as grades 1 and 2) as specified by the Department of Education.
Maximum Teacher to Pupil Ratio
A maximum teacher to pupil ratio is not specified in Indiana statute.
Early Learning State Standards
Indiana has early learning standards in place (called Foundations to the Indiana Academic Standards). This includes standards for children from birth to age 5 in all core educational areas (English/language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies), as well a physical, social, and emotional development.
All of these laws and requirements are reviewed in great detail on the state of Indiana’s Department of Education website.