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:

    Gifted children are very precocious and may be ready to begin school by the age of 4. The 1997 General Assembly passed legislation allowing 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 reading ability
    • 98th percentile or higher on standardized test of math ability
    • 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: Guilford County Schools reserves the right to ask the parent 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 letter of recommendation and/or the rating scale. 


    Request for early entry to Kindergarten are for the child’s districted/zoned elementary school.  Click here to read the parent information document that details the steps that are to be followed to determine a child’s eligibility for early entry to Kindergarten. These steps are summarized below:

    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. 
      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, the parent should be prepared to immediately send the following documentation to the AG Department:
        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 school’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 Magnet and Choice School 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.