By Mary Frost
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation allowing New York City to make kindergarten mandatory for all five-year-olds.
About seven percent of city children — often the most disadvantaged — miss this early introduction to school and start instead in first grade at age six.
“We look forward to working with the Department of Education to help make sure our public school system is ready when this groundbreaking policy takes effect,” in a statement with Robert Jackson, chair of the Council’s Education Committee and Councilman Stephen Levin.
The law goes into effect in July 2013.
“Parents who want to delay kindergarten until their child is six years old will be able to apply for a waiver,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. “But the vast majority of families will now be starting their children's public school education at the age of five — which means an extra year of academic and social learning that will benefit children throughout their lifetime.”
Families usually enroll their children in kindergarten by visiting their zoned school and other schools they are interested in. A birth certificate or passport and two documents which provide proof of residence are required. The kindergarten application period starts in January and lasts two months.
State Sen. John J. Flanagan and Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan introduced the measures.