Your child is eligible for the two-year Kindergarten program in the calendar year that they turn four or five.
Registration starts each year on the first Monday in February at your home school. Visit Find My School to find your home school.
Registration for the 2023-24 school year opens February 6, 2023. Please visit the bottom of this page for the link register. We look forward to welcoming you to HWDSB!
What is Kindergarten?
Kindergarten is a two-year, full-day program that helps children get the best possible start in school. Your child will be challenged and encouraged to do their very best. Our caring team of educators is with them every step of the way! Our staff are also a great resource for you to talk with.
Why is Kindergarten important?
- Early learning experiences are crucial to the future well-being of children
- Early interactions affect the way connections are made in the brain
- A solid foundation for reading and math must be built
- Children build skills through developmentally appropriate play-based experiences
Registering students who require Specialized Services
Children enter Kindergarten with various needs and abilities. We want all children to have a positive and seamless transition to school.
Consider attending the Transition to School Information Night on January 19, 2023.
Learn more about Specialized Services
HWDSB schools typically welcome families to Kindergarten orientation events in May of each year. This is a great chance for families to visit the school with their child(ren) to learn more about Kindergarten. As May approaches, please return to this web page to check for event details.
Also, be sure to check out our virtual resources to help you learn more about Kindergarten orientation.
Register for Kindergarten
How to register:
Note, only parents or legal guardians can register their children for school.
- Find your neighbourhood school in our School Locator tool or call 905-527-5092.
- Register online to create an account, enter details and add your child to our student information system. If you have questions, please contact your local HWDSB school. Here are some additional options:
- By email: Complete and print the 2023-24 Student Registration Form, also available at your school. You can submit a PDF forms via email (see school email list). The 2023-24 registration form will be available in February.
- Paper Application: Paper applications can be requested and picked up from schools upon request. Paper applications can be completed at home and submitted back to schools once completed. Please call your local school to request a paper application.
- Your elementary school will contact you to verify information submitted.
- Required documents include:
- Proof of age (child’s birth certificate or passport);
- Proof of address (identification that shows parent/guardian’s current home address);
- Proof of immunization;
- Verification of date of arrival/immigration documents (if the child was not born in Canada).
- If registered using our print method, bring a completed Child Information Form, also available at your school.
- Required documents include:
When can my child attend?
Your child is eligible for the two-year Kindergarten program in the calendar year that they turn four or five. Your child must attend school if they are age six by September 1.
What will my child learn?
During the two-year Kindergarten program, your child will have an opportunity to learn:
BELONGING & CONTRIBUTING
SELF-REGULATION & WELL-BEING
DEMONSTRATING LITERACY & MATHEMATICS BEHAVIOURS
PROBLEM SOLVING & INNOVATING
Help your child prepare for Kindergarten
The importance of families
You are are an important part of your child’s education!
Young children come to school capable, curious and rich in experiences. Important stages of learning and development occur between birth and six years of age in all areas of growth — communication, emotional, intellectual, physical and social.
Children learn at different rates and in different ways. Our team of educators recognizes the unique strengths, interests and needs of children entering our program and adjust teaching methods and materials to support their growth.
How to help your child prepare for Kindergarten:
- Be responsive and positive – listen to your child
- Talk, read and sing to your child daily
- Encourage clear speech
- Encourage safe exploration and play
- Be selective in the TV shows you watch together
- Encourage independent toileting and dressing
- Promote sharing and co-operation
- Expose your child to painting, crayons and scissors
- Introduce your child to letters and numbers
- Visit your local library and family resource programs such as Early ON programs
- Complete the Looksee Checklist (see section below, Is my child ready for Kindergarten?) and review with a health and/or child care professional.
- Kindergarten Ready: Tips for parents/caregivers to ease the drop-off
Remember, families help HWDSB schools learn about each child’s unique strengths, needs and interests.
Is my child ready for Kindergarten?
The Looksee checklist
The Looksee Checklist is a simple, easy-to-use developmental tool designed to help monitor a child’s development from 1 month to 6 years of age, featuring a short list of “yes” or “no” questions about the child’s abilities. With the vision of helping all children reach their developmental potential, the Looksee Checklist (formerly the ndds checklist) was created in 1993 by ndds, a Canadian non-profit organization made up of early childhood specialists. In the 25 years since, it has been translated into over 10 languages and has helped thousands of children worldwide through initiatives with organizations like the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and World Vision.
Is my child language-ready for school?
Many parents considering Kindergarten wonder if their child is ready for school. In addition to the Looksee Checklist, HWDSB staff offer the following guidelines for early language.
By age four, your child should:
- Follow simple directions with two or three steps (e.g. Get your boots and hat and meet me at the front door)
- Pronounce words like children their age
- Be understood by people they don’t know most of the time
- Speak in sentences that sound about the same as an adult’s
- Use endings on words like dogs, jumped, or biking
- Play a pretend game and describe it to you in enough detail for you to understand
- Ask questions about a book you just read together, like “Who was your favourite character?”
- If your child is unable to do the things listed above, a speech-language pathologist should meet with your child.
This can be arranged in Hamilton through Early Words, a publicly funded organization that provides speech and language services to pre-school children. You can also visit an Ontario EarlyON program and/or access the LookSee Checklist. The LookSee Checklist makes the following recommendation for follow up, “If you answer “no” to any question or have any concerns about your child’s development, follow-up with a health care and/or child care professional.”
Child care options
The Hamilton Child Care Registry is an online registry that makes it easy to find and apply for licensed child care in Hamilton. If you require financial help, you can apply for a fee subsidy with your Hamilton Child Care Registry account.
For details on child care at HWDSB schools, please visit our Child Care web page.
Hamilton Public Health Services
Hamilton Public Health Services offers a range services and supports to address the growing and changing needs of our community. Nurses, doctors, counsellors, and other trained health professionals work with our community partners to promote and protect your health, prevent infectious diseases, and inspect for health hazards.
Parenting Supports: As a parent, you are the most important person in your child’s life. It is normal for all parents to have questions about parenting.
Parenting School-Aged Children: Information to help you guide your children and teens through this exciting and interesting period of growth and development.
Transportation and the First Rider program
Hamilton-Wentworth Student Transportation Services (HWSTS) provides transportation for eligible HWDSB Kindergarten students if the walking distance to their home school exceeds 1.2 kms. HWSTS mails a letter to eligible students in mid-August detailing the online parent information portal and busing.
We take student safety seriously and believe that our youngest riders deserve support as they start to ride a school bus. Each summer, HWSTS offers First Rider orientation and safety training sessions for Kindergarten students and guardians. In sessions about 45 minutes long, students and their parents watch a bus safety video, ride on a school bus, and receive an introduction to all the safety features on the bus. Students will receive an information package and a certificate with their name on it.
Details are posted online each June about the First Rider programs, locations, dates, and eligibility.
Questions and Answers
Can my child attend Kindergarten part-time?
Kindergarten is not mandatory, and parents can choose to have their child attend Kindergarten on a part-time basis. Schools will explain how part-time attendance would be structured (e.g. half-time mornings/afternoons etc.) Your child can begin full-time attendance when you feel they are ready.
Does my child need to have learned to use the toilet?
All children have a right to attend Kindergarten in the calendar year they turn four years old. Children arrive with diverse abilities and needs, and all are welcome at school. HWDSB staff will work with parents on ways to help children with toileting support, and a school plan that meets each child’s needs and honors their dignity. If a child is not toilet trained by age four, the Canadian Pediatric Society recommends a visit with your family doctor. HWDSB schools have standard sized toilets. Find more information at www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/toilet_learning
What if my child still naps?
Each child is unique and the rate at which they adapt to school will vary. Educators strive for a sense of calm in the classroom and provide large blocks of time to engage children’s attention in sustained, complex play and inquiry. There is no dedicated nap time in Kindergarten. Educators respond to the variety of needs in the class by providing children with a mix of experiences and calm learning opportunities, that fit their energy levels.