It’s that time of year when schools have opened up their registration for Kindergarten. This process might be old news for parents with older children in school, but for parents of children going to school for the first time, it can be overwhelming! 

According to South Dakota law, children are eligible to start Kindergarten if they are 5 on or before September 1st of the current school year. 

Registration has opened up for area schools! To learn how to sign up your child, check out the website of the school district that you reside in. 

Many area schools have Kindergarten screenings that you need to sign up for and are happening in the next few weeks. 

There are so many great school options in our area! We have amazing public schools, private schools, micro-schools, hybrid options, and a thriving homeschooling community in the area. Applications, screenings, and registrations are open for most options. 

What to Know

Open Enrollment

If you wish that your child attends a school district that you do not reside in, you may be able to open enroll. This includes sending your child to a school in the same district but different from the one your address is assigned to. Open enrollment is usually on a first-come basis, so make sure to sign up early if interested! In the Sioux Falls School District, you can apply for open enrollment on December 1st of the prior school year. It may be too late for this year, so keep early application dates in mind for next! 

Jr. Kindergarten or Kindergarten

Most school districts now offer the opportunity for your 5-year-old to take a year of Jr. Kindergarten if they are still getting ready for Kindergarten (which they will then take the next year). Jr. Kindergarten is a popular option for those with summer birthdays or for students who might just need a bit of extra time before Kindergarten. Some schools have a policy that anyone can apply for Jr. kindergarten, and others you test into the program. Not all school districts offer Jr. Kindergarten as an option. 

Early Childhood School Screenings

If you are questioning how your child is doing and if they are ready for Kindergarten (particularly for summer birthdays), reach out to your school district! Many offer the ability to schedule a childhood screening at your convenience or will be able to tell you when the district holds them. This screening will help you understand if your child is ready to start school in the fall. For some schools, there will be a required Kindergarten screening. 

Gather Required Documents

To complete the kindergarten registration process, you’ll need to gather certain documents to verify your child’s identity, residency, and immunization records. Commonly required documents are in:

– Birth certificate or proof of age

– Proof of residency (such as a utility bill or lease agreement)

– Immunization records (SD State law)

– Parent/guardian identification

Be sure to check with your local school district for a comprehensive list of required documents and any additional paperwork specific to their enrollment process.


Once you’ve gathered all the necessary documents, it’s time to complete the registration forms provided by your chosen school or school district. These forms typically include basic information about your child, emergency contact information, and any relevant medical or educational history. Be sure to fill out the forms accurately and thoroughly, as incomplete or incorrect information may delay the enrollment process.

Attend any Events

Many schools offer orientation sessions or transition events for incoming kindergarten students and their families to help ease the transition into school. These events provide an opportunity to meet teachers and staff, tour the school facilities, and learn more about what to expect in Kindergarten. Attending these events can help alleviate any anxiety or apprehension your child may have about starting school and can also provide valuable information for parents.

If your school does not have an Open House (or you can’t make it), you can always reach out to set up a tour! 

Prepare Your Child

In addition to completing the sign-up process, it’s essential to prepare your child emotionally and academically for Kindergarten. Take time to talk to your child about what to expect in school, read books about starting Kindergarten, and encourage independence and self-help skills, such as using the restroom and dressing themselves. Consider establishing routines and schedules to help your child adjust to the structure of the school day.

It’s A Big Step

Kindergarten sign-up marks an exciting milestone in your child’s educational journey. It can be scary for first-time moms and seasoned pros alike! You got this!