Compulsory School Age
Maryland’s compulsory school age law requires all children between the ages of 5 and 18 to attend school. In 2006, the law created a new kindergarten birthday cut-off rule for enrollment. All children who turn 5 years old by September 1st must be enrolled in kindergarten by the first day of school for that given academic year.
For example, if a child turns 5 any time between January 1 and August 31 of 2019, the parent must enroll their child in their local public school before the first day of school in September 2019. If a child turns 5 between September 1 and December 31, the parent waits to enroll their child in school for the 2020-21 school year.
Exceptions to the Kindergarten Birthday Cut-Off Rule
- Parents may file a written request with their school district for a one-year maturity waiver from Kindergarten. The child must be registered in Kindergarten the following year when he turns 6.
- Parents may enroll their child in a full-time licensed child care center; a full-time registered family day care home; or a part-time Head Start 5-year old program.
- Parents may file a Notice of Intent to Homeschool form with their local school board and begin providing their child with “regular and thorough instruction” that is usually taught in Kindergarten.
NOTE: Parents who plan to homeschool their children but wish to wait until their child turns 6 must file a maturity waiver, not a Notice of Intent, with their school district.
Last modified on September 13, 2019