Kindergarten Requirements for the State of Louisiana
On its website, the Louisiana Department of Education proudly displays the tagline “Louisiana Believes,” and this passionate dedication to educating its students is clearly reflected in the state’s laws and policies regarding kindergarten. Full-day kindergarten is mandatory across the state, with a required minimum of 6 hours of instruction daily. In addition, over 90 percent of Louisiana children attend full-day kindergarten across the state. Here are the top laws and requirements for students entering kindergarten in the state of Louisiana.
In the state of Louisiana, children are required to attend kindergarten in accordance with state law. In addition, every school district is required to offer a full-day kindergarten program.
Full-Day Kindergarten Required
Louisiana is one of 11 states (along with the District of Columbia) to offer full-day kindergarten to all of its students. School district kindergarten programs are required to run 177 days per year and 6 hours per day (exclusive of recess, lunch, and planning periods), which translates to approximately 1,062 hours of instruction per school year. According to an Education Week study published in 2015, over 90 percent of Louisiana’s kindergarten students were enrolled in full-day programs.
Educational Standards: Common Core
Common Core state standards were adopted in Louisiana by its Board of Education in July, 2010, with full implementation in the 2013–2014 school year.
Current Age Requirements
Children in the state of Louisiana must have turned the age of 5 on or before September 30 of that same school year. The compulsory school age in Louisiana is 7. However, if a student enrolls in school before the age of 7, he or she is subject to the compulsory attendance laws of the state.
Early Entry Rules
Louisiana does offer an opt-in waiver for children under the age of 5 to enter kindergarten early if they are determined to be gifted following a state evaluation.
Required Immunizations and Available Exemptions
In order to attend school in Louisiana, 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.
Louisiana allows for immunization exemptions based on medical, religious, and philosophical grounds. Parents and guardians interested in obtaining an exemption should check with their local school to determine specific requirements and parameters.
Pre-Entrance Testing/Screening Requirements
Louisiana requires its districts to administer an entrance assessment to every kindergarten student at the beginning of the school year. Local districts can choose the assessment from a list of acceptable tests that’s been reviewed and approved by the state Department of Education. In addition, if a child does not attend a full day kindergarten program, the local education authority is authorized to administer an academic readiness screening prior to entrance to first grade.
Maximum Teacher to Pupil Ratio
The maximum classroom size according to Louisiana statute currently stands at 1 teacher to 20 students.
Early Learning Guidelines
Louisiana has early learning guidelines in place that cover children from birth to three years old, and prekindergarten standards that include all core subjects, as well as approaches to learning, health and physical development, and social and emotional development. All are aligned with K-12 state standards.
All of these laws and requirements are reviewed in great detail on the state of Louisiana’s Department of Education website.