Important Information and Frequently Asked Questions


  1. I’ve heard a lot about a new law/statute regarding Kindergarten. What is it?

In accordance with Section I of PA 23-208, which amends Section 10-15c of the Connecticut General Statutes effective July 1, 2024, public schools shall: open to all children five years of age and over who reach age five on or before the first day of September of any school year, and each such child shall have, and shall be so advised by the appropriate school authorities, an equal opportunity to participate in the activities, programs and courses of study offered in such public schools, at such time as the child becomes eligible to participate in such activities, programs and courses of study, without discrimination on account of race, as defined in section 46a-51, color, sex, gender identity or expression, religion, national origin, sexual orientation or disability; provided a child who has not reached the age of five on or before the first day of September of the school year may be admitted (1) upon a written request by the parent or guardian of such child to the principal of the school in which such child would be enrolled, and (2) following an assessment of such child, conducted by such principal and an appropriate certified staff member of the school, to ensure that admitting such child is developmentally appropriate.

In PA 23-208, 1(a) the legislature established September 1 as the new cutoff birthdate for children seeking admission to kindergarten beginning in the 2024-2025 school year, and established an assessment process that constitutes the only exception to the September 1 cutoff date.

  1. Why did the date change?

There is a significant amount of research that supports the argument that children who begin Kindergarten at the age of 5 have higher academic outcomes. The research also states that children who enter at the age of 5 are less likely to drop out of school, be retained in subsequent years, and even decrease chances of referrals to special education.

The change in the cutoff date for Kindergarten entrance was changed by State legislation and will become effective July 1, 2024. Many states have already made this age change for Kindergarten entrance and Connecticut is one of the last, of only a few remaining states, to change the cut off date from January to September.

  1. I’ve heard the term ‘Ber Babies’...What is that?

Although we do not encourage any type of name category for students as each child is unique and has their own individual needs and characteristics, you might hear people refer to children who have birthdays during the months of SeptemBER, OctoBER, NovemBER, and DecemBER, ‘Ber Babies’. Based on the old legislation, BER babies were the children who were still four (4) years old waiting to turn 5 by January 1 when they entered Kindergarten.

With the new legislation and age cutoff for Kindergarten, students must now be five (5) years of age by September 1 of the school year thus eliminating the category of 4 year old ‘BER’ babies. And again, the research posits that those few extra months provide students with a greater chance of success upon entering formal schooling.

  1. What are the Watertown Public Schools doing to support families with children who are four years old?

The Watertown Public Schools will be accepting all students for the 2024-2025 academic year who will be five years (5) old by January 1,2025 to our ‘Transition Kindergarten’ program. We understand that many of our families were already ready to send their child to Kindergarten at JTPS for the 2024-2025 academic year and we want to provide as smooth a transition as possible.

In short, all children, whether four or five years old by or on January 1, 2025 will be allowed entrance to the Watertown Kindergarten or Transition program at JTPS.

  1. What is a Transition Kindergarten Program? And why is communication important?

Students who are four years of age will be mixed in with students who are five years of age attending traditional kindergarten. If our school personnel identify students who can use additional support in early development and milestone development, they will receive additional supports throughout their transition kindergarten year. There may also be instances where five year old children in the traditional kindergarten program will benefit from some of the early development activities reserved for transition kindergarten program. If this is the case, we will not deny any students from taking part in these activities. We strongly believe that ‘good teaching is good teaching’ and if it can benefit all, we are happy to include everyone who may benefit from the experience.

Communication throughout the Transition Kindergarten year will be paramount. Teachers and parents should work to cultivate a strong relationship to discuss their child’s progress throughout the year. Early communication is key to identifying any additional needs or supports a student may need in order to succeed during their academic journey. Parents are always encouraged to reach out to their child’s teacher(s) regularly.

  1. What if the law changes the age cutoff for Kindergarten again?

The State legislation process is a complicated and time sensitive one. The Superintendent's office closely follows and monitors any law changes that might affect or impact the daily operations of the Watertown Public School or our families very closely. As soon as laws are made and officially signed by the Governor’s office, the Superintendent and Board of Education will update policies and communicate with any stakeholders who may be impacted by these changes so there is time to prepare.

IF there are any additional changes to the Kindergarten entrance cutoff, the Superintendent’s office will contact all families immediately. As of February 2024 however, please be reminded that the Watertown Public Schools:

  • Welcomes all children who will be 5 years of age by or on January 1, 2025 to the JTPS Kindergarten Transition program for the 2024-2025 academic year.

  • Beginning September 1, 2025, all children must be 5 years of age to enter Kindergarten for the 2025-2026 academic year.

Again, if there are any changes to this law, all families will be notified.

  1. What do I have to do to register my child who will be five (5) years of age by or on January 1, 2025 for Kindergarten at JTPS?

Step 1: Kindergarten registration opens on February 5, 2024 online at the JTPS main website. Visit: to start your registration process.

Step 2: Make sure to complete ALL residency requirements by providing all required documents to the appropriate parties. Only official residents of Watertown/Oakville are eligible to attend Watertown Public Schools. Registration is not complete without residency, the long form birth certificate, and the blue health form filled out by your child’s pediatrician.

Step 3: Complete the Kindergarten Onboarding Packet. All families will be provided with an onboarding packet by the school. If you do not have one, please contact the JTPS main office and they will provide you with a packet. The following, but not limited to, must be completed as part of the registration/onboarding process:

Required Item and Who should complete this?

We welcome all of our new and returning eligible Watertown Families to 

John Trumbull Primary School!