Kindergarten Requirements for the State of Missouri
While full-day kindergarten isn’t mandatory in Missouri, between 80 and 89 percent of students attend full-day programs. This is in part due to the fact that full-day kindergarten is included in the state funding formula, although some districts do charge parents tuition for the program. Here are the top laws and requirements for students entering kindergarten in the state of Missouri.
Kindergarten Not Mandatory
In the state of Missouri, children are not required by law to attend kindergarten. However, it’s mandatory that districts offer at minimum a half-day program.
Full-Day Kindergarten Not Required
Missouri school districts are not required by state law to offer and fund full-day kindergarten for all eligible students. At minimum, districts must offer kindergarten programs for 3 hours per day, or 574 hours per year. According to an Education Week study published in 2015, between 80 and 89 percent of Missouri’s kindergarten students were enrolled in full-day programs.
Educational Standards: Common Core
Common Core standards were adopted by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in June, 2010, with full implementation in the 2014–2015 school year. They are aligned with the Missouri Learning Standards, which cover such core subjects as social studies, science, and fine arts.
Current Age Requirements
To be eligible to attend kindergarten in Missouri, a student must have turned age 5 before August 1 of that same school year. Compulsory school age in Missouri is set at age 7.
Early Entry Rules
Missouri allows school districts serving metropolitan areas to establish their own minimum age requirement for kindergarten, allowing early entry by district for those children who will be turning 5 at the latest before October 1. In addition, if a child begins kindergarten in a district with early entry rules in place and then moves, he or she can enroll in that new district without meeting the age requirement.
Required Immunizations and Available Exemptions
In order to attend school in Missouri, 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.
Missouri allows for immunization exemptions based on both medical and religious grounds. Religious exemptions can be obtained from the local health department and must be filed with the school administrator. Medical exemptions must be filed the same and be signed by a physician.
Pre-Entrance Testing/Screening Requirements
There are no kindergarten entrance assessment requirements specified in Missouri statute.
Maximum Teacher to Pupil Ratio
In Missouri, maximum classroom size is 1 teacher to 25 students.
Early Learning Standards
Missouri has early learning standards in place that are aligned with K–12 standards. These standards include the core subjects literacy, mathematics, and science, as well as physical development, health, and safety, and social and emotional development.
All of these laws and requirements are reviewed in great detail on the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website.