Our Kindergarten Program
Transitioning to kindergarten is an exciting time in a young child's early learning years. Transitions in early childhood education are ones filled with many questions and new learning opportunities for you and your child. As educators and parents, we know that a smooth transition to Kindergarten is an essential part of a child's academic experience.
Please explore our guide to Kindergarten below to learn more about Kindergarten in Boulder Valley School District and how to best support your child.
- Enrollment and Supports
- Transition Into Kindergarten
- Play-Based Learning
- BVSD Information
- Kindergarten Assessment
- Kindergarten Registration: Neighborhood Enrollment
- Kindergarten Open Enrollment Information
- Gifted and Talented Testing (Early Access)
- Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education in BVSD
Students are eligible to attend Kindergarten if they turn 5 years of age on or before October 1st of the year of enrollment.
To get your child ready for kindergarten you should:
Decide which kindergarten you are going to attend. Will you be attending your school of residency?
Every address in the Boulder Valley School District has an assigned neighborhood school for grades kindergarten through 12. To attend a school other than your neighborhood school, you must apply and be approved through the Open Enrollment lottery (see Open Enrollment information)
If you choose to attend a school outside of your neighborhood/school of residency and before completing the Open Enrollment process, parents/guardians should obtain information about the school to which they are applying so that they are informed about the program. Some schools/grade levels may have no open spaces to offer.
The Boulder Valley School District open enrollment application period is between November and January each year. Parents/guardians must apply online. Parents who do not have online access are encouraged to use computers available for this purpose at many schools and in the Open Enrollment office. Please visit the enrollment website at https://www.Boulder Valley School District.org/parents-students/enrollment.
Collect and scan or photograph your documentation, as you will need to register online to attend kindergarten in Boulder Valley School District. The following documents will be needed:
- Birth Certificate
- Proof of Immunizations
- Proof of Residency in Boulder Valley School District. A bill for monthly services received at the home address is required for enrollment. The bill must indicate the parent name, home address and a current date (within three months). Acceptable bills include:
- Current Xcel Energy bill, including service address. • Current city utilities bill, including service address. • In doubled-up situations, please include a letter from the person the family is living with. You must also submit one of the above-listed forms of acceptable proof of address for the host family. Home phone bill (AT&T, Comcast, etc), including the service address.
- Home cable bill (Comcast, Dish Network, etc), including the service address.
- Home internet bill (Comcast, Livewire, Centurylink, etc), including the service address.
Attend an open house or schedule a tour of your child’s new school before school starts.
Families choosing to apply via Open Enrollment follow the same process to apply as applicants entering grades KG-12th grades the following school year. There is not a separate process for applicants entering into Kindergarten. Three important notes:
- Per Boulder Valley School District Board Policy JECC-R, if your child previously attended Preschool at one of our Boulder Valley School District elementary schools, and that school is not your household's neighborhood school, there is not a preference through Open Enrollment for them to attend Kindergarten at the same school.
- A neighborhood school enrollment may be filled out while awaiting a response from Open Enrollment (in case the applicant is not offered a seat at their requested school(s)). The applicant's waitlist position(s) will not be affected.
- Once an open enrollment to a school outside of your neighborhood school has been approved, the new elementary school is your school of record and attendance. If you choose to go back to your neighborhood school you must apply during open enrollment.
A neighborhood school online enrollment application from Preschool to Kindergarten does not need to be submitted if:
- The student attended Preschool at University Hill Elementary School, Pioneer Elementary School or Community Montessori School and your family's household address has not changed since the last enrollment. Our department will "roll" the student's enrollment up to Kindergarten at the same school for you.
- The student attended a Boulder Valley School District Preschool at your household's neighborhood school (via Special Education or Tuition-based). Our department will "roll" the student's enrollment up to Kindergarten at the same school for you.
- The student attended Preschool at a neighborhood school (via Special Education or Tuition-based) not within the same attendance area of where the child's household resides. Our department will "roll" the student's enrollment up to Kindergarten at the household address' neighborhood school for you.
To meet the needs of highly advanced children who have not yet entered kindergarten or first grade, Boulder Valley School District may grant early entrance to school, for highly advanced gifted children, with a body of evidence at or above the 97th percentile. Children who qualify for early access are exceptionally precocious and ready for school earlier than their same-age peers. Academic achievement, reasoning ability, performance and motivation are keen compared to other gifted children.
This process is not for typical children who miss the October 1 Kindergarten/First Grade entrance date.
Colorado regulations [CRS 22-20-204(2)] define that a 4-year old or 5-year old child who is “highly advanced gifted child” may be eligible for early access for kindergarten or first grade, respectively. The child is academically gifted, socially and emotionally mature and in the top 3 percent or less of the gifted population.
Early Access age requirements:
- The student must reach the age of four by October 1 for kindergarten.
- The student must reach the age of five by October 1 for grade one.
BVSD celebrates bilingualism and offers support to our students and families who speak a language other than English. This support begins with an identification process using the Home Language Survey (HLS) that all families complete during the online registration process. The answers provided on the HLS help our staff to determine if a student should be administered the W-APT to assess their listening and speaking skills in English. The assessment is administered at our BVSD Education Center or at your school. Some of our BVSD schools do not have English Language Development (ELD) services and will require assessment before completing the registration process. Based upon the results of the assessment, your child may qualify for ELD services.
We have several different services across BVSD. Depending on the school, students may participate in our bilingual (Spanish and English) programs, ELD co-teaching programs, ELD push-in programs or ELD pull-out programs. All instruction is provided by a highly qualified ELD teacher with an endorsement in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education. This teacher also collaborates with your child’s classroom teacher to help them provide appropriate language support across the day. As your child moves through kindergarten, they will work on listening, speaking, reading and writing in English and making connections to the other languages they know!
We monitor our students’ progress towards becoming Fluently English Proficient, which may take 5-7 years. ELD teachers use a set of descriptors about what a student can-do at each stage of language development to reflect on student progress several times a year and to plan for instruction. Students also take the ACCESS assessment annually in January/February in order to measure their progress in listening, speaking, reading and writing. Families should expect to receive updates about their child’s language development during conferences, and they will receive the ACCESS results before the end of the school year.
Please know that if you have questions you are encouraged to reach out to our CLDE department at 720-561-5214 or to contact your school.
- Successful Transition to Kindergarten
- Kindergarten Readiness
- Kindergarten Welcome Days
- Social and Emotional Development
- Physical Development
- Cognitive Development
- Language and Literacy Development
- Mathematics Development
Boulder Valley School District has created eleven “I am learning” skills that we see as important opportunities for a successful transition into kindergarten.
- I am learning through play. Play is how a child makes sense of the world and it helps them understand abstract concepts, improve thinking abilities, and practice making sense of new information.
- I am learning to follow rules and routines in different places. Rules help keep children safe and help them understand expectations in school.
- I am learning about numbers. Counting helps children create a foundation for future math skills.
- I am learning to hold pencils, markers, and crayons with three fingers. Learning the correct grip will make drawing and writing easier for children.
- I am learning to dress myself, keep myself healthy and use the bathroom independently. Learning self-help skills creates independence for young children.
- I am learning to answer questions and ask for help using a complete sentence. The more students hear words and practice, the more their vocabulary expands.
- I am learning to use writing to express myself. Don’t worry if I only make partial letters to draw. Writing everyday helps children express ideas, share information, relate to others, and learn.
- I am learning the names and sounds of letters, especially those in my name! When adults sing together with children, read together and practice letters, it helps children get ready to read.
- I am learning to follow 3 – 4 step directions (such as get your coat, get your backpack, meet me at the door). This is an important skill to help children become more independent.
- I am making connections between new information and what I already know. Memories and experiences help children solve more challenging tasks.
- I am learning to focus and engage with activities that are appropriate for me. Being able to attend to tasks and ignore distractions are skills that will be helpful throughout my life and K-12 school experience.
Boulder Valley School District has developed a school readiness calendar with transition to kindergarten activities each month that can fit into your everyday life. Keep in mind, children develop at different rates, and there is a wide range of what typical looks like at age 5 and 6. Boulder Valley School District ensures that administrators and teachers recognize the whole child. As educators, we are prepared and ready to work with children who have a wide variety of developmental and academic skills and learning styles. We see each child as an individual and want to spark their curiosity and ensure success in the early years of their educational journey.
All BVSD elementary schools have Kindergarten Welcome Days to start the kindergarten school year. Your child's school will provide more information about these Welcome Days at the start of the year. Welcome Days aim to provide incoming kindergarteners with a couple of days to help ease the transition and promote a successful school experience, both academically and emotionally.
What is Social & Emotional Development?
Social and Emotional Development is a child’s ability to understand his/her own, peer and adult feelings, regulate one’s own feelings, and build relationships with others.
Examples of home social and emotional activities to support your incoming kindergarten student to school;
- setting playdates with friends,
- visiting local parks and community activities to give your child the opportunity to play and interact with friends of the same age group,
- playing games so your child has experience learning to take turns during an activity,
- giving opportunities to make choices at home and in play
What is Physical Development?
Physical Development is a child’s ability to use gross motor (large muscle) and fine motor (small muscle) skills at school and home.
Examples of home physical activities to help in kindergarten could include;
- providing materials to use at home, such as scissors, markers, crayons and paper,
- encouraging children to use squirt bottles, eye droppers and playdough during play to strengthen hand muscles.
- playing in the park on the playground equipment, running in the fields, playing sports.
What is Cognitive Development?
Cognitive Development is a child’s ability to analyze, solve problems, and reason within the classroom.
Examples of home cognitive activities to help in kindergarten could include;
- providing time, space, and a variety of interesting materials at home appropriate for a 4 or 5 year old,
- allowing children to be innovative and creative by using tubes, old boxes, or recycled materials to make items, and giving children the opportunity to make choices in play.
- asking your children about their experiences by asking questions and prompting them to include details such as; What did you think would happen? Could you tell me more about the dog you saw? What did you like best about playing at the park today?,
- visiting local parks, museums, participating in activities in your local community, taking walks and talking about what you see on your walk with your child.
What is Literacy and Language Development?
Language and Literacy Development refers to a child’s ability to communicate thoughts and ideas verbally and in writing.
Examples of home language and literacy activities to help in kindergarten could include;
- using magnetic letters on the refrigerator,
- drawing or painting with letters, singing the alphabet song, reading books about the alphabet, like Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom or The Alphabet Tree.
- giving your child the opportunity to help write shopping lists,
- writing about their drawings,
- making writing materials readily available in the home so children can write and draw.
- using picture schedules,
- giving children chores with two to three steps to complete,
- reviewing the steps for washing and drying hands or other routines at home,
- talking often with your children and describing objects in their environment.
What is Mathematics Development?
Mathematics Development is a child’s ability to manipulate numbers, shapes, and patterns.
Examples of home mathematics activities to help in kindergarten could include;
- providing materials for children to count and sort by shape, color, etc,
- singing songs about numbers,
- counting objects in your home or when on a walk with your child.
- Full-day Kindergarten Development and Learning Beliefs
- Importance of Intentional Play in the Full-day Kindergarten Schedule
- Full-day Kindergarten 7 Hour Daily Instructional Sample Schedule
In Boulder Valley School District, we welcome every child into kindergarten and believe every child deserves to have access to an inspired education that provides an excellent foundation for continued learning and growth. Boulder Valley School District leaders, teachers, and staff work together to create an inspiring learning culture where students know they’re valued, they belong, and they can make their own mark, so there are equitable outcomes for all.
- Infusing core elements of compassion, curiosity, joy, and learning through play into the classroom environment, the language we use, and the way we approach lessons.
- Encouraging children to take a lead in their own learning.
- Every family and child and all educational professionals realize the benefits of interacting with each other from an inclusive mindset.
- Children’s play is in work and work is in play.
- Bringing hope and joy to our everyday work so we can create thoughtful, intentional, and engaging learning experiences for all students.
- Equity and inclusion are at the forefront of all that we do.
- As leaders, teachers, and staff are attentive and responsive to the needs of all children and their families.
- Sharing mutual responsibility for building caring relationships with each other and with the students and families we serve.
- Focusing on where children will thrive based on knowing their strengths, needs, and interests. We integrate both developmental and academic best practices to provide an exceptional foundation in each child’s learning path.
- We’re excited about sparking a love of learning and providing pathways to progress for each student.
- Education extends beyond our walls and helps to remove institutional barriers to success.
- Partnering with families to create fun and engaging learning experiences both in and out of the classroom.
- Commitment to relational trust is designed to ensure a seamless transition from school to home that leads to the best possible outcomes for every student.
Boulder Valley School District believes the foundation of early learning is the integration of hands-on, complex, long-lasting play, which focuses on supporting and building all areas of child development throughout the curriculum and instructional day.
Why is Play Important?
Boulder Valley School District believes “rich play experiences are developmentally appropriate opportunities for children to build-self knowledge and understanding of the world around them. Play leads to a powerful sense of self or self-concept. It helps children feel capable of influencing others and creating harmony and order in all positive and acceptable ways. Play builds abilities such as problem solving, persistence, and collaboration-abilities people draw upon throughout their lives”. (Jones & Cooper, 2006)
Kindergarten Teacher Role in Play:
“Teachers’ thoughtful planning of the materials and activities to support educational goals in each center is essential. As children involve themselves in the various activities, the teacher talks to them, gives them information or feedback, and extends their thinking and engagement. Children largely direct their play along the lines of their ideas and interests, with teachers getting involved at times to provide support and interact with them”. (Mraz, Porcelli, Tyler, 2016)
Arrival & Morning Meeting
10 minutes daily
Music and Movement
Integrated throughout the school day
Recess & Lunch Time
45 minutes daily
One additional 20 minute recess daily
100 minutes four days a week
30 minutes daily
45 minutes four days a week
50 minutes four days a week
Science and Social Studies
60 minutes one day a week AND
Daily integration of science and social studies concepts into literacy, math, and intentional play blocks of time to include collaborative investigations and hands-on learning centers
50 minutes daily
45 minutes daily
Students have a daily specials class (art, music, or PE). These classes rotate on a weekly basis, so students will attend one week of the same specials class before switching to the next one (i.e. one week of art, then one week of music, then one week of PE). *Certain exceptions may occur during the first and last weeks of school or around special events
Clean Up & Dismissal
5 - 10 minutes daily
- Meals and Nutritional Services
- Transportation - All the Ways to Go to School
- Safety in BVSD
- Health Services
- Social Emotional/Mental Health Supports
- Weather Guidelines
- Volunteering in a Kindergarten Classroom
- School Contact Information
- Kindergarten Retention
We have an award-winning School breakfast and Lunch program that includes minimally processed, whole food ingredients, with clean labels. The real differentiator of our school lunch program is that the meals are prepared from scratch by a team of trained culinarians, in our Boulder Valley School District Culinary Center. We also purchase as much locally available ingredients as possible. Every meal includes a hot entree that contains a whole grain and a protein item, a fresh seasonal fruit, and access to a rotating salad bar that includes fresh vegetables, grain salads, and additional protein items. We also offer a bulk local milk, as well as a vegetarian hot entree option each day. Our staff is trained to be welcoming and friendly to all students, especially those new arrivals at the Kindergarten level, and we strive to make your child’s experience in the lunchroom a positive one. As a policy, we will never deny a student a meal, even if their account balance is in the negative. Visit food.bvsd.org for more information.
Nutrition and Allergens
Please refer to these updated online versions if checking for viable menu options for your student. Nutrition & Allergens
Please utilize the sheets on our website to determine allergen information for menu items, and if you have a child with a severe anaphylactic food allergy, please inform the health para, nurse, and classroom teacher at your child’s school.
If you choose to pack a cold lunch from home, please try to include foods from multiple food groups, and healthier options including fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible, so that your student can be at their best for learning. Teachers will send additional information about healthy snacks to send to school with your child.
Free and Reduced Lunch Information
We still strongly encourage families who may fall within the income limits to apply for Free and Reduced Meals eligibility, as this makes you eligible for other student fees to be waived, and is critical to your school’s funding. Applications must be completed on the enrollment section of your Infinite Campus login. Learn more about Free and Reduced Lunch on their website here.
Boulder Valley School District encourages its students, families, and staff to consider alternative transportation options. It is good for our physical and environmental health. Visit BVSD Safe Routes to School to explore all the ways to get to school, walk, bike, bus or carpool.
Ride the Bus to School
BVSD Students who live within school attendance areas but outside of standard school "shortest reasonable" walk distances, that is, 1.5 miles for elementary schools, may be eligible to ride the bus to school. Find out more about registering and riding the bus to school here.
Confirm that the process to register can be found at the above link.
BVSD is committed to keeping our school communities safe. We know that before learning is possible, our students and staff must feel secure, so we have developed measures to protect our children and to respond in the event of a threat at our schools.
Crisis Management Plan
Boulder Valley School District has a plan in place that covers all five phases of emergency preparedness.
Layered Security Measures
It is important to know that Boulder Valley School District has a layered system of security in place. While Boulder Valley School District cannot discuss specific security measures, actions or tactics, the district has worked closely with our partners in law enforcement to implement best practices, detect potential threats, and then to prepare our buildings and staff to react when a threat is realized.
We thank our community for their generous support of bond projects that have ensured that all of our schools have secure vestibules and security cameras.
The Standard Response Protocol (SRP)
During an emergency, shared vocabulary for students, staff and first responders is also essential. That is why we use the Standard Response Protocol (SRP), developed by the "I Love U Guys" Foundation. Learn more safety in BVSD and the Standard Response Protocol on our Be Ready Page.
In the Boulder Valley School District, we believe in caring for the whole child. We know that before students can focus and succeed in the classroom, they must be supported physically, mentally and through a healthy environment. We look forward to providing a safe and healthy kindergarten opportunity for your student.
If you have any questions or need additional information please check the Boulder Valley School District Health Services website or contact your School’s Health Team.
State law requires all students attending Colorado schools to be vaccinated against certain diseases unless they have a medical or non-medical exemption on file.
Vaccines required to enter school Kindergarten include: Hepatitis B (HepB), Diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (DTap), Inactivated poliovirus (IPV), Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), and Varicella (chicken pox). More information on required vaccines, exemptions and rules are available at the CDPHE School Required Vaccines page: https://cdphe.colorado.gov/schoolrequiredvaccines
PHYSICALS and HEALTH SCREENINGS
Boulder Valley School District recommends that all students follow the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines to maintain optimal health, including physicals and routine health screenings, however, no physical exam is required before beginning kindergarten. All students enrolled in kindergarten will be provided a vision and hearing screening within the school year.
If your child has a health condition that may impact them during school, please notify the school’s health team. If needed, a School Nurse will work with you to develop a health care plan to address your child’s needs during school. This is especially necessary if your child has asthma, allergies requiring emergency medications, seizures or diabetes.
Students may receive medications at school according to Boulder Valley School District policy. However, all prescription and non-prescription medications must be maintained in the health office and be administered by a trained staff member. All medications must be delivered to the health office and be accompanied by a completed authorization form signed by a healthcare provider.
ILLNESS AT SCHOOL
If a student becomes ill at school they will be escorted to the health room. A health room paraprofessional will review their symptoms, offer support and if needed (fever, vomiting, diarrhea, injury), call a parent/guardian to pick the child up.
WHEN YOUR CHILD SHOULD STAY HOME
There are four main reasons to keep a child home from school:
- Someone who the child lives with or has had close contact with, has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- The child does not feel well enough to take part in usual activities. For example, a child is overly tired, fussy or will not stop crying.
- A child needs more care than teachers and staff can give while still caring for the other children.
- The symptom or illness is on the CDPHE How Sick is Too Sick list, and staying home is required.
If your child is sick and you are unsure if they should attend school, call the school health team for assistance. Remember, the best way to stop the spread of infection is staying home when sick and good hand washing.
On a daily basis it is important for students to eat healthy, be active and get enough sleep. Learning healthy habits young provides both long-term academic and health benefits. Students in Boulder Valley School District are encouraged to get outside and move their bodies throughout the school day. Kindergarteners also learn about nutrition, hygiene, safety and other topics to get them off to a healthy start.
The science of child development shows that the foundation for sound mental health is built early in life. Boulder Valley School District understands this and pays special attention to improving children’s environments, relationships and experiences early in life. All staff members take an active role in building relationships with our students. Our schools have many routines that support the building of these relationships, as well as curriculums that assist in developing students' social skills.
All Boulder Valley School District Elementary schools have an elementary school counselor. Our school counselors provide education, prevention and intervention services in the areas of academic, career and social/emotional development support. Each of our schools are also supported by a Mental Health Advocate. They support student achievement, social emotional/behavioral development and crisis intervention.
Volunteers help us provide better service to our students and are a very important part of the Boulder Valley School District community. Please follow this link for the application process to volunteer in a classroom and school setting.
Retention is defined as having a student repeat the same grade for a second year. Retention is only appropriate when there is reasonable assurance that the student will benefit from the decision. The decision is made as a result of a process that involves the collection and consideration of information regarding academic, cognitive, social/emotional, and physical development of the student. Consideration for retention may only occur after multiple efforts to intervene have proven effective.
- Kindergarten Scope and Sequence
- Kindergarten Assessment & Report Cards
- READ Act
- Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) for Kindergarten
The BVSD Kindergarten Scope and Sequence is a visual organization of what Colorado Academic Standards kindergarten students should be learning and when they should be learning them throughout the school year. Through this process, educators are able to ensure our curriculum is balanced, spiraling, and without gaps and redundancies.
BVSD uses an observation-based assessment called Teaching Strategies GOLD in all preschool and kindergarten classrooms. Teaching Strategies GOLD is an observational system for assessing children. It helps teachers to observe children in the context of everyday experiences, which is an effective way to learn what they know and can do. Teachers use GOLD to guide their teaching and children’s learning of the Colorado Academic Standards. Learning objectives in the GOLD assessment system are organized in nine developmental and content areas: Social-Emotional Physical Language Mathematics Cognitive Literacy Science and Technology Social Studies Arts.
Kindergarten GOLD Report Cards are available at the end of quarters 2 and 4. Parent-Teacher Conferences are held at the end of quarters 1 and 3. During conferences, families meet with the teacher to discuss their child's progress and goals.
The Colorado READ Act works to ensure the mastery of reading by third-grade before students advance to fourth grade. The initiative focuses on early literacy programs, resources for both teachers and students, early screening, and individualized reading plans for at school and at home.
In BVSD, beginning in Kindergarten students are screened in reading using a READ Act approved assessment, Istation in dual language schools and iReady in all other schools. A process is followed to look at results from READ Act approved assessments and determine if a student in Kindergarten is developing the foundational reading skills needed to learn to read, or if targeted instruction is needed beyond whole group instruction. iReady and Istation provide a level for each student after they take the assessment.
Reach out to your child’s teacher and/or principal if you have any questions regarding the READ Act or your child’s progress in learning to read.
MTSS stands for Multi-tiered System of Supports and it’s a framework used in schools to support children in reaching their full academic and social-emotional potential. It can be described as the way schools do business. At its heart, it is a way for educators to customize learning to be responsive to each child’s unique strengths and needs. From teachers collaborating around student progress to sharing resources and communication with families and caregivers, MTSS provides support for students and nurtures family-school partnerships. MTSS also allows for teachers to use best teaching practices in their classrooms and know-how and when to layer in additional support and enrichment for children who may need more. It provides opportunities for the adults in your child’s school to use data to discuss and make decisions around how to best meet each child’s individual needs. If you would like more information about how your school implements the MTSS framework, please reach out to your child’s teacher.