Capt. Geoffery Mosley and his wife, Fiona, get ready to register their son Kingston (4, standing), for kindergarten at Mililani Uka Elementary School. Their younger son, Barrington (2), also came along to watch.

HONOLULU -- Starting school is a very exciting time for both children and parents, which is why the Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE) is encouraging all parents to register their children for junior or regular kindergarten for the 2013-14 school year as soon as possible.

Children born in 2008 are eligible for the program, and parents are encouraged to register in March or April.

The cutoff age to enter kindergarten varies across the U.S. In Hawaii, children who will turn 5 years old between Jan. 1-Aug. 1, 2013, may enroll in regular kindergarten, while children who will be 5 between Aug. 2-Dec. 31, 2013, may enroll in junior kindergarten.

Although kindergarten is not mandatory in Hawaii, all Army families are highly encouraged to consider registering for the program.

"Kindergarten is important because children have the opportunity to academically learn with peers their age, comprehend social practices and exercise how to get along/work with others," said Jessica Kotomori, a kindergarten teacher at Shafter Elementary School.

"Kindergarten is a good start to their school career," she added. "We lay a good foundation for school readiness skills, so they will become successful lifelong learners."

Child, Youth and School Services (CYSS) offers the Strong Beginnings Program at its child development centers. Strong Beginnings Pre-K is the Army initiative designed to prepare children for kindergarten.

"The program has a greater academic focus covering science, math, language/literacy, social studies and physical fitness, preparing the whole child for school success," said Mindy Barnes, assistant director at the Schofield Barracks CDC. "The children get very excited about the graduation ceremony, which includes caps, gowns and diplomas. The ceremony marks their transition from pre-K to kindergarten."

The CYSS Schools of Knowledge, Inspiration, Exploration and Skills (SKIES) offers preschool writing and reading once per week.

Also, the Wheeler Armed Services YMCA offers "Parent Participation Preschool" for children ages 3-4, designed to help preschool children make a smooth transition into the structure of kindergarten with parents right by their side.


Parents registering their child for kindergarten must provide schools with the following documents:

•Birth certificate;
•Proof of residency (housing papers, utility bill, etc.); and
•Medical records, including immunizations, physical exam and tuberculosis test.

Information will be transferred onto the HIDOE Student's Health Record (Form 14).

For more information about the kindergarten program, visit or call the School Liaison Office at 655-8326.

2013-2014 School Year Calendar

The 2012-2013 school year ends May 24. Important dates for the remaining third and fourth quarter follow:
•March 15, 3rd Quarter Ends
•March 18-22, Spring Break
•March 25, Teacher Work Day
•March 26, Kuhio Day
•March 29, Good Friday
•May 24, 4th Quarter/2nd Semester End; last day for students

Also, the State of Hawaii Department of Education has issued its official calendar for the 2013-2014 school year, set to begin Aug. 5. Other important dates follow:
•Aug. 16, Statehood Day
•Sept. 2, Labor Day
•Oct. 4, 1st Quarter Ends
•Oct. 7-11, Fall Break
•Oct. 14-18, Teacher Institute Day (one day off for students, set by HSTA; subject to change)
•Nov. 11, Veterans Day
•Nov. 28, Thanksgiving Day
•Nov. 29, School Holiday
•Dec. 20, 1st Semester/2nd Quarter End
•Dec. 23-Jan. 3, 2014, Winter Break

Good Beginnings Alliance

Beginning in school year 2014-15, the cutoff dates for children entering kindergarten in Hawaii will change to Jan. 1- July 31.

Additionally, every year starting in 2014, about 5,000 children will no longer have access to junior kindergarten.

The Good Beginnings Alliance (Every Keiki Deserves a Good Beginning) has started the campaign "Be My Voice Hawaii," advocating the legislature to fund preschool for every 4-year-old.

The group is asking for help spreading the word at the website

Page last updated Mon March 18th, 2013 at 15:19