Tennessee State Kindergarten Guidelines

This information is meant to help you decide if your child is required to enroll in Kindergarten or not. Please remember that we are not a public school but a Category IV Private School. These requirements are for TN residents only. If you are not in Tennessee then you need to make sure you meet your states age requirements.

  • K is required FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS, however, compulsory attendance does not begin until the day the child is six years old.
  • A nonpublic school can require K if its board of directors/ school board decide they want to require K.
    We (non-public school) are under a SBE policy that we follow the state age cut off dates for students enrolled as K in our school.
  • A child entering kindergarten shall be no less than five (5) years of age on or before August 15. However, a child does not have to enroll in school at five (5) years of age, but enrollment must occur no later than the beginning of the academic year following the child’s sixth birthday.

How old must my child be to attend school?

  • For the 2014-2015 school year and all school years thereafter, a child entering kindergarten must be five years old on or before August 15. T.C.A. 49-6-201(b)(3). However, a child does not have to enroll in school at five years of age, but enrollment must occur no later than the child’s sixth birthday. T.C.A. 49-6-3001(c)(1); SBE Rule 0520-01-03-.03(10)(a)”Any transfer student applying for admission who was legally enrolled in an approved kindergarten in another state and who will be five years of age no later than December 31 of the current school year, shall be enrolled.” SBE Rule 0520-01-03-.03(10)(b). So, a child entering school during the fall from another state may enter kindergarten as long as the child turns five that calendar year and was enrolled in an approved kindergarten in the other state.The compulsory attendance law also applies to five year old children once they have attended school for six weeks. “[A] child may be withdrawn within six (6) weeks of initial enrollment without penalty.” TCA 49-6-3007(g).

    “No child shall be eligible to enter first grade . . . without having attended an approved kindergarten program; provided, that a child meeting the requirements of the state board of education for transfer and/or admission, as determined by the commissioner, may be admitted by an LEA, notwithstanding any other provision or act to the contrary.” T.C.A. 49-6-201(d)

    Depending on local board policy, children may be allowed to go from kindergarten directly to second grade. TCA 49-6-3106.

The Farm School Satellite Program statement:

  • When asked we discourage parents from enrolling 5 yr olds UNLESS they have some need other than compulsory attendance since for most 5 yr olds compulsory attendance is not an issue. It only applies to k/5 yrs old when they have been enrolled in public school K and in attendance in a PUBLIC school K program for more than 6 weeks.
  • Other needs could be getting a grandparent/ spouse off their back, all child’s friends are going to K so parents want to normalize by providing said child with school, ID card, etc. , older siblings are enrolled , child will turn 6 within the school yr.
  • Parents that want to enroll 5 yr old to circumvent the cutoff date and transfer said child as 1st grader to a public school the next school year may find this path to be a dead-end.

Here are a couple of links to help with further information:

Tennessee SBE FAQ –   https://www.tn.gov/sbe/topic/frequently-asked-questions

Article explaining TN Requirements – https://enlightenme.com/kindergarten-requirements-state-tennessee/

Tennessee Rule Link – http://share.tn.gov/sos/rules/0520/0520-01/0520-01-03.20160329.pdf