Early Entrance to Kindergarten


    Children with experiment

    This page provides an overview of the process that must be followed to determine a child’s eligibility for early entry to Kindergarten.  This page also highlights other Pre-K opportunities that are provided by the district and may be of benefit to children who demonstrate the need for early learning experiences.

    Two children sharing a book

    Early Entry to Kindergarten:

    Academically and/or intellectually gifted children are very precocious and may be ready to begin school by the age of 4. The 1997 General Assembly passed legislation allowing academically and/or intellectually gifted 4-year-olds to enter Kindergarten under certain guidelines. The state guidelines indicate that children entering kindergarten early shall be functioning two to three years above their same-aged peers. In order to qualify for early entrance to Kindergarten, in accordance with the state of North Carolina guidelines, Guilford County Schools has established the following conditions for children whose fourth birthday falls on or before April 16th of the current year:

    • 98th percentile or higher on a standardized test of intelligence
    • 98th percentile or higher on a standardized test of achievement in either reading or math ability
    • 98th percentile or higher on standardized test of math ability
    • High performance in the other area of achievement, if both were not at the 98th percentile. 
    • Two (2) letters of recommendation from non-relatives
    • Portfolio of student work demonstrating outstanding ability in any of the following areas: independent reading and math ability, science, social interactions, writing, art, dramatic play, creative products, etc. Preference is given to documentation that shows outstanding ability in academic areas, specifically reading and math.   

    Note: The parent/guardian assumes financial responsibility for any cost associated with the completion of letters of recommendation. Additionally, Guilford County Schools reserves the right to ask the parent/guardian to have the recommenders complete an additional rating scale, such as the Gifted Rating Scale. In these situations, the rating scale will be provided by the AG Department and the parent will assume responsibility for any cost associated with the completion of the rating scale. 

    Request for early entry to Kindergarten are for the child’s districted/zoned elementary school

    The Process for Early Entry to Kindergarten: 

    Submit the Request for Early Entrance to Kindergarten Form to the AG Department. 

      1. Submit the Request for Early Entrance to Kindergarten Form to the AG Department. In keeping with the timeline required by the state, this form opens annually on April 16th and closes on the 1st school day of the traditional calendar. This will allow families enough time to submit all required documentation by the state's deadline of the 30th calendar day of the traditional school calendar.  Note: If your child is districted for an early start school, the 1st day of school and the 30th calendar days are not the same as the traditional calendar schools.
      2. At their own expense, the parent must arrange to have their child assessed in the areas of intelligence and achievement by a licensed psychologist.  State law requires that this testing occur after April 16th following the child’s fourth birthday.  Click here to access a list of private professionals who have contacted the AG Department with notification of their ability to perform such assessments (this list is not endorsed by Guilford County Schools nor the AG Department).
      3. The psychologist who assessed the child must submit the Early Entrance to Kindergarten Psychologist Form directly to the AG Department. 
      4. If the child’s scores meet the stated criteria, following procedures that will be communicated by the AG Department, the parent should be prepared to send the following documentation:
        1. Two letters of recommendation from non-relatives (such as preschool teachers, childcare workers, pediatricians, or others with direct knowledge of the child)
        2. A birth certificate showing that the child reached his/her fourth birthday by April 16th of the current year.
        3. A portfolio of student work
      1. Upon receipt of the items listed in Step 4, the AG Department will share the information with the principal of the student’s districted/zoned elementary school. The principal will conduct a review of the information as documented in this document.  According to state guidelines, the packet must be submitted to the principal before the end of the first 30 calendar days of the instructional school year. Parents are encouraged to complete the process before the first day of school.

    2 Elementary students working on an assignment


    Alternatives to Early Entry to Kindergarten:

    Guilford County Schools Pre-Kindergarten (PreK) Montessori Programs:

    The Montessori approach to teaching and learning was created by Dr. Maria Montessori.  This approach to learning is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning, and collaborative play.  In Montessori classrooms students make their own creative choices regarding their learning while a Montessori trained teacher offers appropriate activities to guide the learning process.  In mixed-age classrooms children learn how to work together and master life skills. In a PreK Montessori classroom, children learn at their own pace by moving freely around the room and choosing from a wide range of hands-on, age-appropriate activities that are designed to teach specific skills organized by the classroom teacher.  For more information on the Montessori way of teaching and learning, visit the American Montessori Society. 


    Guilford County Schools offers three Montessori PreK programs:  Erwin Montessori, Triangle Lake Montessori, and Washington Montessori Elementary.  This programs are free to attend.  During the annual magnet application window, parents of PreK-aged students can apply to the zoned Montessori program for their home addressed.  Application to these programs does not require any of the testing mentioned in the Early Entry to Kindergarten process.  To learn more about these three schools and the magnet application process, visit the district’s Choice Schools & Programs page. 


    Guilford County Schools Traditional Pre-Kindergarten (PreK) Programs:

    The Guilford County Schools Pre-K Program is designed to ensure children are prepared for success in Kindergarten by providing four-year-olds with child-centered, developmentally appropriate curriculum and experiences. Four-year-olds who have completed an application and been identified through a screening process will participate in a full day program which is free of charge for families. The program is funded through Title I federal funds and NC Pre-K state funds. To learn more about the district’s PreK programs, visit the district’s Early Learning page.