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February 28, 2008
For immediate release

Children Now Eligible Earlier to Begin Kindergarten or School


Changes were announced today to the age that children must be when they enter kindergarten or school in Prince Edward Island.

Previously, children were required to be five years old by August 31 to start kindergarten, and six years old by August 31 to start school. The date will now change to October 31, beginning in the 2008-2009 school year.

Premier Robert Ghiz says the revised policy reflects Government’s commitment to lifelong learning beginning in the early years. “There is a great deal of new research that indicates young children benefit from being in a structured learning environment,” he said. “We want to do everything possible to support early literacy and learning, to identify learning difficulties at an early age and provide the necessary early interventions,“ he said.

Education Minister Gerard Greenan said the new policy responds to parent concerns. “We are hearing from more and more parents with children born in the early fall who feel that their children are ready for school and kindergarten. These parents feel it is unfair that their children cannot start kindergarten or school here when they could in most other provinces. The new eligibility date will put the PEI start date more in line with the rest of the country,” said Minister Greenan.

The new policy means that approximately 250 additional children will be eligible to attend kindergarten and school in 2008.

Although kindergarten is not compulsory in Prince Edward Island, over 95 percent of Island children are enrolled in kindergarten programs. It is the parents who decide whether to enter a child in kindergarten or school or to delay the child’s entry for one year. Parents who wish to register their child for kindergarten should contact the kindergarten of their choice to do so.

If parents of children born in September or October 2002 decide to enter their child in grade one next year, they may also choose to enrol their child in kindergarten for the remainder of this academic year. They are advised to contact their kindergarten for more information.

Supplementary school registrations will be held in March for parents of children who wish to register their children for grade one in September 2008.

For more information on kindergarten policy, contact Carolyn Simpson at the Department of Education at 902 569 7526. For information on school registration, contact your school board office.

Media Contact: Jean Doherty
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