In Philadelphia, children are eligible to attend Kindergarten when they are five-years-old. They can attend a variety of schools, including: public neighborhood, public charter, private independent or private Catholic. Parents should start planning for their child’s Kindergarten experience a full year before they turn five!
If you have children younger than four, check out our Preschool and Daycare articles.
Attending your public neighborhood school is free. To enroll, you can complete the process entirely online. There are four ways to register: online, by phone, in-person, and by drop-box. See this one-pager for more information on each method. To register for the current school year, visit the School District’s website.
View profiles for Kindergarten in Public District schools. To find your neighborhood school, visit the School District’s School Finder.
In order to register online, prepare beforehand and have electronic copies of all the the paperwork needed:
- Proof of your student’s age (ex. birth certificate, passport, medical record with student’s date of birth)
- Two (2) documents showing your current address (ex. valid state drivers or photo identification, lease, deed, or utility bill under your name)
- Immunization records (click here for a list of requirements)
- Parent/Guardian Photo ID (recommended, but not required)
Note: Be sure to keep your provided application number in a safe place, as you may need it later if you choose to resubmit your application.
Once you’ve gathered your information, visit the registration portal and begin your application.
- See an instructional video that clarifies the application process.
- See a step-by-step help guide
- For more information on how to enroll your child in your local neighborhood school, view the District’s guidelines.
- If you have additional questions, please contact The Office of Student Enrollment & Placement at 215-400-4290 or read the Kindergarten FAQ’s.
If you are a parent or guardian of a students whose primary language is other than English, or a potential English Learner (ELs), The Multilingual Assessment Center (MAC) is ready to help!
- Contact the MAC by phone at 215-400-4240 (Option 1), by email at [email protected], or via this form.
- To access the District’s registration flyer is 10 different languages, click here.
If you wish to send your child to a school other than your neighborhood school, you must complete an application as part of the school selection process the following school year.
Attending a public charter school is free. To apply, parents must submit a simple application by the school’s deadline. Many charter schools use Apply Philly Charter, an application for multiple schools at once!
To enroll your student for the following year, the application opens on September 23, 2023 and closes on January 23, 2024. Other charter school applications and deadlines can be found online by clicking on a school’s profile page. View profiles for Kindergarten in public charter schools.
Schools that receive more applications than they have space for will hold lotteries to determine which students will be accepted into the program for the upcoming year. Though some schools have preference for students living in their neighborhood or with siblings already attending the schools, charter schools cannot consider things like preschool records or a family’s income. Most lotteries occur in the spring and many are open for you to attend.
After being selected, you will be asked to complete paperwork to enroll (see below). You can apply without having this paperwork already!
Families not chosen in the lottery may decide to remain on a wait-list and be notified as space becomes available.
Parents must submit an application and pay an annual tuition in order to have their child attend a private school. Schools will notify you if your child has been accepted. Some schools may require a parent meeting or school tour before the application is complete.
There are many scholarship organizations and financial aid options available, as well as a small number of schools that are completely tuition-free. To learn more, see our article Paying for Private School.
Please note that many private independent schools begin in preschool and may have more space available for three or four year olds than for Kindergarten. View profiles for Kindergarten in Private Independent schools.
Parents must submit an online application and pay an annual tuition in order to have their child attend a Catholic school. Schools will notify you if your child has been accepted.
Some schools may require a parent meeting or school tour before the application is complete.
There are many scholarship and financial aid options available. View profiles for Kindergarten in Private Catholic schools. Learn more at Scholarships for Private High Schools in Philadelphia
We update this article as new information arrives so make sure to check back. If you see information that’s missing or incorrect, please email us [email protected].
Looking for more information on finding a great school? See all articles.
Sign up for our GreatPhillySchools mailing list to stay in the loop and receive updates about application deadlines, learning resources for students, schools with open seats, events and more.