Frequently Asked Questions: Kindergarten

Kindergarten FAQs​

General Questions

How do I register for kindergarten?

Children who will be 5 years of age on or before August 31 of the current year are eligible to attend kindergarten beginning in September of the current year. 

Kindergarten registration is a two-step process:

  • Step 1: Families fill out the online Pre-Registration Form 

  • Step 2: Families will be contacted to complete the registration process; this appointment may be at the school site (elementary school offices reopen the week before Labor Day) or at the Central Registration office.  Translation services are available at Central Registration, which reopens the first week of August.

  • Click here to find the Kindergarten Registration packet.

 

If your child presently attends a pre-kindergarten program at Amelio Della Chiesa Early Childhood Center, Point Webster, or Snug Harbor it is not necessary to register your child for kindergarten.

If you have questions about kindergarten registration, please email lauraowens@quincypublicschools.com or call 617-984-8702.

What is open registration/enrollment?

Open Enrollment is a request for students who wish to attend a school outside their neighborhood district. Open enrollment requests are accepted a year in advance on the day when school reopens for grades 1-9. The procedure for the same can be found on the attached link. Open Enrollment for 2022-23 School Year - Quincy Public Schools

When is the first day of kindergarten?

Usually the 1st Monday after Labor Day (this is later than 1st-12th grade).  Please confirm the start date with QPS Calendar. 2022-2023 School Year Calendar - Quincy Public Schools.

What time does school start and end?

All elementary students, including kindergartners, attend school 5 days a week with Wednesdays being an early release day (this means the students end school earlier every Wednesday).  Find your student’s school in the list below for start and end times.

7:45 am - 2:00 pm

Early Release 7:45 am - 11:25 am

Atherton Hough

Bernazzani

Lincoln Hancock

Merrymount

Wollaston

8:15 am - 2:30 pm

Early Release 8:15 am - 11:55 am

Beechwood Knoll

Clifford Marshall

Montclair

Parker

Snug Harbor

Squantum

What to expect at the Kindergarten orientation?

Kindergarten orientation is always scheduled for the Friday before the 1st day of Kindergarten. It is usually in the morning hours. You can expect to receive information from the principal and to meet your student’s teacher during the orientation.  Pre-COVID, students and sometimes parents/guardians would also visit your child’s classroom during this time.

What are the important telephone numbers?

Most families typically need to access only the following offices: 

  1. Main Office (absences and all general inquiries)  

  2. Nurse’s Office

  3. Guidance Office

Please contact your child’s school to obtain these numbers.  The Main Office can also provide you with necessary contact information.

What should I expect on day 1?  How do I prepare my kindergartner for the first day of school?

Prepare your child for their 1st day of school by taking the child to the orientation. While at orientation, have your child become familiar with the classroom, the teacher, and maybe even their seat (if that has been assigned). Make going to school an exciting thing for your child to look forward to. Start to prepare your child for the bus or school drop-off (based on whether your child will walk or be dropped off, or will take a bus). Make sure your child knows who will be picking them up—either from school or the bus stop. When the child comes home, ask about the child’s day, but be prepared that your child may not say much about what happened during the day. This is normal.

How do I report my child’s absence from school?

Call the school office to report the absence to the school secretary.  Additional documentation (example: a doctor’s note) may be required when your child returns to school.

What are the school pick up and drop off rules?

Please call/email your designated school to find out the pick-up/drop-off rules. Rules vary per school.

Can I pick up my child early from school?  Can I drop my child off late?

Yes, you may pick up your child early from school or drop-off your child late to school. Please call/email your designated school main office and let them know. Rules can vary per school.

What is the best mode of communication with the teachers?

E-mail is often the best mode of communication with your teachers, however, some teachers prefer paper notes. Please check with your students’ teacher for their preference. Staff email addresses can be found by clicking on your respective school on the QPS Elementary Schools page and then clicking on the staff directory.  Please note that these pages are not updated frequently.  If you cannot find a staff member’s email address, ask your school’s office..

How can I change information in my child’s school records such as phone number, address, or emergency contact?

Please call/email your respective school office and update the changes with the school secretary.

Are there any dress code/guidelines regarding clothing and footwear?

There is no dress code but it's preferred if kids wear clothes and footwear in which they are comfortable and can easily handle themselves when using the bathroom and going outside (e.g. jackets they can zip themselves). The clothes should not interfere in doing regular day-to-day activities at school. Closed-toe shoes have been found to be safer for children.

Do the kids get a special place to store their belongings?

Kids get some storage space for their belongings but it may vary per school and classroom.  Hooks, cubbies, and chair back organizers are some examples of storage options that may be available.

What are the birthday and holiday celebration policies? 

For health safety reasons, no food/treats are allowed to celebrate a birthday. Families can donate a book to the class or send small, non-food gifts for your child's classmates. Please check with your child's teacher in advance. But continuing with COVID-19 policy, birthday celebrations are currently not allowed.

What is the kindergarten restroom policy?

 Many Kindergarten classrooms have bathrooms in their classrooms.  For those that do not have a bathroom, children are accompanied to and from the bathroom by the classroom paraprofessional or the classroom teacher. 

What is PBIS? How is the child selected for PBIS?

PBIS (positive behavioral interventions and supports) is a proactive approach that schools use to improve school safety and promote positive behavior. The focus of PBIS is to encourage good behavior. Students get raffle tickets from educators for acts of kindness, obedience, being helpful, etc. The metrics, implementation, and rewards for PBIS may vary per school.

What is a CORI form? Why is it necessary? How can I get myself CORI certified?

Volunteers, contractors, and other individuals who have direct unmonitored contact with children are asked to submit a CORI (Criminal Offence Records Investigation) form. The form permits QPS to run a criminal background check to ensure the safety of all individuals in our schools. Please see the CORI Check and Fingerprinting page for more detailed information (credit Squantum PTO). Advisory of CORI Law: Mandatory Criminal Record (CORI) Checks - Education Laws and Regulations (mass.edu)

CORI form: Request CORI As an Individual | Mass.gov

What are the fire protocols and drills?  What is the active shooter protocol and drills?

Protocols vary by school and classroom, but your child will practice what they need to do during both scheduled and surprise drills.  Different schools might also have different names for these drills that they use with the children (eg. “Coyote Drills”).  Contact the principal of your school with questions about such protocols.

What is Aspen? How can I access Aspen?

You will receive information on how to login to Aspen from your student’s teacher or principal early on in the school year.  Aspen is where you can check on your student’s attendance record and where report cards can be downloaded from.

Food (Breakfast, Lunch, and Snacks)

How does my child purchase breakfast and/or lunch?

All children attending QPS schools can get free breakfast and lunch during the 2022-23 school year.  

Prior to the pandemic a student could purchase school breakfast and/or lunch by cash or school bucks. The details can be found on the link below.  

QPS Meal Payment Options

When will my child eat during the school days?

The lunch/snack timings can be confirmed with your homeroom teacher or school office..

Will there be anyone to help my child at lunch and snack time?

Lunch aides or para professionals can help your child with lunch/snack time. Pre-COVID, lunch was eaten in the cafeteria and snacks in the classroom. Kids can bring lunch from home or order it from the cafeteria.  No refrigeration or reheating is available for lunches brought from home.

What will happen if my child forgets their lunch/snack?

All children attending QPS schools can get free breakfast and lunch during the 2022-23 school year. Children with food allergies/dietary restrictions will require parents to notify their child’s teacher in advance as to which options should be used if the child forgets lunch.

Pre-COVID, your child would be offered a hot lunch for that day and an “IOU” from the cafeteria will be sent home with the child. When children forget their milk money, they may have milk and bring in the money the following day. Parker, Marshall, Lincoln Hancock and Montclair have free lunch at school for everyone.

What should I do if I cannot afford breakfast and/or lunch?

All children attending QPS schools can get free breakfast and lunch during the 2022-23 school year.

What is the policy if my child has food allergies?

Allergies must be listed on the student’s health form which is part of the admissions packet. Forms are submitted to the school nurse who will request any additional information or medications needed. School nurses can also answer questions on the protocols for dealing with allergies at your student’s school.

Academics

What does a typical kindergarten day look like?

Schedules, procedures, and activities vary by school and classroom.  Typically kindergartners line-up by class when they arrive and are taken to their classroom at the first bell. They often start their day with Morning Meeting and then might work in small groups, individually, or at centers. Kindergartners participate in specials such as physical education, art, music, and media. Physical education and media are usually once per week. Art and music are once every week or every other week. Kindergartners are given one snack break in addition to their lunch time. Depending on when they have lunch, snack could be in the morning or afternoon.  A short recess is usually directly after lunch. Some teachers may also choose to take their students outside for an additional recess time, but this is at their discretion. At the end of the day, kindergartners receive help collecting their belongings and are dismissed in groups based on whether they are in aftercare, taking a bus, or being picked up.

What should kids bring to school in their bag/backpack?

A school supply list is usually sent home over the summer or provided during orientation. Teachers will let you know what should stay in school, what should stay in the child’s bag/backpack, and what should stay at home.

What technologies are used in a kindergarten classroom?

The apps used in the classrooms can be found on this link: QPS Elementary School

What is the policy on outdoor playtime for kindergartners?

 Kindergarten students will participate in recess, as well as opportunities on nice days to play outside. Teachers will bring students outside for playtime when the weather is nice. Even in the colder months, students will have the opportunity to get fresh air and play.

What enrichment programs are available for kindergartners?

Every school has their own enrichment programs depending on the availability of teachers. Please check with your individual school.

How do we register for enrichment programs?

The schools generally send a form or email to register for programs when they are available. The form usually indicates if admission is first come first serve or by lottery.

Are there any wellness and mindfulness activities/programs used by the school for kindergartners?

Calm Classroom is used across the district at multiple grade levels including Kindergarten. This is an opportunity for students to pause and refocus prior to starting a new activity. In addition, the nurse and guidance counselor or both will do classroom lessons throughout the year with the Kindergarten students on these topics.

Does the school have a counselor for kindergartners? How can my child access the counselor’s services?

Guidance counselors are available at school for students to access when necessary. The counselors are a valuable source of support for students regarding social and emotional issues related to school. Parents/guardians are encouraged to contact the counselors, when necessary, but especially if there are events occurring in their student’s life which may affect the student at school.

What assessments are used in kindergarten?

In addition to teacher observation, kindergartners are assessed with DIBELS at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year.  DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) are short (one minute) fluency measures that are used to monitor the development of early literacy and early reading skills.

When are report cards issued to the students?

Report cards are issued 3 times in a year. November (followed by parent teacher conference), March (followed by parent teacher conference), and end of the year in June.

How do I read the report cards?

The elementary report card rubric can be accessed at QPS Elementary Report Cards. In kindergarten the focus is on the social-emotional and motor skills of the students.  Don’t be shy about asking your student’s teacher or guidance counselor about understanding the report card and your student’s strengths and areas for development.

What trips and activities specific to kindergartners are planned for the year

Trips and activities are specific to each school. Please contact the school to know the details. Sometimes the school PTO plans some activities for students.

What is the reading buddy program for the kindergartners?

Reading buddy program is followed by some schools where grade 3 students and kindergarten students are paired to help the reading skills of kindergarten students.

Health

What do I need to do if my child requires medication during school hours?

A QPS Medication Order Form must be completed by the prescribing physician. The parent/guardian must also sign this form giving the nurse permission to dispense the medication. The medication must be delivered to the nurse by an adult in the original container with the prescription label intact.

What policies are in place to protect children with food allergies?  What do I need to do if my child has allergies?

Please contact the school nurse if your child has a food allergy.  At the beginning of the school year a general letter about food allergies is sent out to all families. If there is a student in a classroom with a known nut allergy, a more detailed letter is sent to the families in that particular classroom. In this letter, QPS requests that families do not send in any nut products for snack or lunch. The school nurse works with the parent or guardian to get the necessary paperwork and medication, so they know their child is safe, comfortable, and healthy at school.

What is the school policy regarding non-emergency health issues?

Each elementary school has a registered school nurse. If a student feels sick/has a fall/minor injury, they are sent to the nurse’s office. The nurse will evaluate the student, and if the student needs to be sent home, the nurse will call the parents/guardians to pick up their student.

What is the school policy in the case of health emergencies? 

In case of a health emergency, the nurse will determine the severity of the situation and accordingly call 911. Parents/caregivers, and in case of their unavailability the emergency contact, will be informed.

When must my child stay home from school?

A student who feels ill will be too uncomfortable to learn. You should keep your student home when they are experiencing the following (these are pre-COVID rules):

  • A fever, 100 degrees or higher, within 24 hours of school. Do not give your student medication in the morning for an elevated temperature and then send them to school.

  • Vomiting or loose stools within 24 hours of school.

  • A cough that keeps your student awake, is painful or uncontrolled.

  • A sore throat for 24 hours, especially with swollen glands or fever. If your student has been diagnosed with strep throat, they must remain home for at least 24 hours after they start antibiotic treatment.

  • A suspicious rash or eye drainage should be evaluated by your student’s doctor before coming to school.

  • Lice needs to be successfully treated before returning to school.

If you have questions, it is best to call the school nurse to discuss whether your student is well enough to attend school. Also, please alert the nurse if your student has been diagnosed with any contagious illness, such as conjunctivitis (pink eye) or strep throat.

How do I notify the school that my child is sick or injured?

Please call the school’s main office before school starts for the day if possible. If you get a recording just leave a message with your student’s full name, teacher, the illness/injury, and how many days they are expected to be absent. The secretary/someone from school will update the attendance. If you do not call, the school will call you to confirm the absence.

What is the attendance policy for kindergartners?

While most children learn best when they do not miss many days of school, there is no limit on the number of days kindergartners can be absent. Please inform the school of any absences so that the school has a record. In case a child has been sick for more than 2 days, it's preferred to send a doctor's note when the student returns to school. If you are going for a vacation, please send an email to the homeroom teacher and a copy to the secretary.

Transportation

Bus

How do I know if my child is eligible for the bus and how do I register my child for the bus?

QPS bus transportation is available to students in grades K-5 who live more than a mile from school. If you live over two miles from your school, the bus is free. If you live between one and two miles, you have to pay a fee for bus service. Either way, you must fill out an application if your student plans to take the bus. You can find the application for bus transportation and a list of bus stops on the QPS website. Once you have filled the online application for the bus please call your school to see if your students name is on their bus list.

How do I change the bus pick up or drop off location if we move within the district?

Please inform the school of your new address and work with them to coordinate any changes needed.  Sometimes your bus number will also change.

Who do I call if I want my child not to take the bus that day back from school?

Please call the school office if you don’t want your child to take the bus on any particular day.  Also, write an email or send a note to the homeroom teacher.

Who helps the kindergartners who take the bus at the arrival/dismissal of school?

Designated teachers, bus monitors, and/or 5th grade students help the kindergartners who take the bus.

What number do I call if the bus is late or there is any emergency on the bus?

In case the bus is late or there is an emergency on the bus, please call the QPS Transportation Department. Alternatively, you may call the school office or Coddington Main Office 617-984-8700.

What is the protocol if the student takes the wrong bus?

If a student accidentally manages to takes the wrong bus, they will be driven back to school and the parent/caregiver/emergency contact will be called from the school to come and pick up the student.

What happens if no one is at the designated stop to pick up the student?

If the designated person is not there to pick up the student from the bus stop, they will be driven back to school and the parent/caregiver can pick the student from the school. If you know ahead of time that you won't be able to pick up your student, you can give a letter to the bus driver authorizing someone else to pick the student up for that particular day.

 What is the procedure if you want to change the person who usually picks up your child from the bus stop?

You can give a letter to the bus driver authorizing someone to pick up your child. In the letter you should list the name of the person with their drivers license number. If possible, it can also be helpful to introduce the person to the driver.

Walker/Biker/Car

What is the pick-up/drop off policy for walkers/bikers/car drop-off?

The rules vary per school and will be explained during orientation. Please contact your school’s office with additional questions.

How can I change the contact for pickup and drop off?

Please send a note/email to the school and homeroom teacher with the details.

What are the parking rules outside school?

Parking and drop-off rules will be explained during orientation. Please adhere to the guidelines of every school. Please be careful to not block any residents driveways or the bus routes.

After School

What after-school options are available?

Quincy after-school programs are not managed by QPS. The current after-school services are being offered by Q-CARE, Stars and YMCA Germantown.  Some are hosted within the school building and some transport the children to another location.

How do I register my child for after school?  What does an after-school day look like?  What time is pick-up?  How are kids transported to after-school programs out of the school?

Please contact the after-care provider directly for details and to register. Links to the program websites are listed in the answer above.

Is there a spot for every child?

No.  Spots are limited and do fill quickly.