Early Entrance

The early entrance procedure was designed to allow academically precocious children a chance to begin their formal schooling a year before same-age peers. In addition, the children early entranced must  be physically, socially and emotionally ready—not only for school—but also to handle the pressure that comes with being the youngest student in their grade.  Other students may be up to 16 months older.

The district strives toward continuous progress for all learners in elementary school and beyond.  Not only does this blur the traditional distinction between grades, but when students work at their ability level, they have access to curriculum beyond their grade.  Elementary teachers endeavor to personalize instruction for all learners. In addition, District 112 offers gifted students the opportunity to work with our Gifted Services teachers.

Children who are academically superior may make good candidates for early entrance; however, nearly all parents (99.99%) of Eastern Carver County School District 112’s  most gifted students usually choose to wait and allow an extra year of growth for their child, enrolling them with their same-age peers.

In some other states or rural districts, early entrance and grade skipping are often the only options for meeting bright students’ academic needs. In contrast, Eastern Carver County School District is a large school district with many educational options, striving to maintain high standards of academic excellence and rigor.  Early entrance candidates that  choose to wait and  enter Kindergarten with same-age peers, will find the curriculum challenging, not only this year, but in future years.

Timeline and Resources

In order to find the students most likely to succeed as early entrants, and based on recommendations from nationally known experts in education, District 112 developed a matrix, which considers many factors of child development.  Based on research, parent feedback, teachers’ expertise, and the experiences of previous early entrants, the district is confident when children demonstrate strength in all areas of the matrix they have the best chance for long term success.


  • September 1-October 31: Student birthday
  • February 15: Parent requests early entrance information
  • March 15: Parent completes and submits application
  • May: Final decision

Items needed for application:

  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Early Entrance application
  • Child Development Inventory
  • Preschool recommendation and checklist
  • Talent Inventory

Minnesota Statute 123.35

Children are eligible to enroll in kindergarten if they are five years old on or before September 1.  No matter what date is selected, some younger children may be ready to enter kindergarten before they are five years old.  In order to provide for these children who are ready, Eastern Carver County School District 112 has an early entrance procedure.  The Early Entrance process is an appeal to the MN Statute and all decisions are final.

Frequently Asked Questions

My child’s birthday misses the September 1st cut-off by just a few days/weeks. Can s/he enter kindergarten early?

No. Early entrance is not determined by how close your child’s birthday is to September 1st. The date is not set by the school district. According to Minnesota Statute 124D.02, children eligible for kindergarten must be at least five years of age on September 1. 

Can my child, who is not yet 5 years old by September 1st, apply for early entrance for Kinder Academy?

No. We do not accept any early entrance candidates to Kinder Academy. All students entering Kinder Academy must also be 5 years old by September 1.

Who is a good candidate for early entrance?

Students will be considered for early entrance if they clearly demonstrate exceptionally superior intelligence, social and emotional maturity, strong academic achievement, and a strong drive to learn. Based on research, parent feedback, teachers’ expertise, and the experiences of previous early entrants, the district is confident when children demonstrate strength in all areas, they have the best chance for long-term success. These students are precocious (highly gifted intellectually), wise beyond their years, and well outside the academic norm of their same-age peers. 

My child is exceptionally gifted. What is the early entrance process?

We require an application form with information about your child, a Talent Inventory, preschool teacher’s assessment and recommendation, and some other assessment forms. Preschool experience is required to be considered for early entrance. Following our review of the information gathered from adults who know the child well, we will communicate our decision to either wait until the following year to enroll your child or continue the early entrance process. If your child demonstrates a strong potential for academic success as an early entrant there are two other assessments, including a formal IQ test which help us determine whether your child would require special provisions to meet their educational needs. To begin the process, please contact the Welcome Center.

When should I consider early entrance for my child?

Eastern Carver County Schools offers an early entrance review process for children with superior cognitive abilities who live within the district and will turn 5 years old before October 31. Candidates should be highly advanced (gifted) children whose abilities, talents, and potential for accomplishment are so exceptional or profoundly developmentally advanced that they require special provisions to meet their educational programming needs. A typical IQ for these children would be above 130.

My child is exceptionally gifted. Can I wait and enroll her/him next year instead?

Children who are academically superior may make good candidates for early entrance; however, nearly all parents (99.99%) of Eastern Carver County Schools' most gifted students choose to wait and allow an extra year of growth for their child, enrolling them with their same-age peers. 

Do you accept all early entrants who are highly gifted?

Many gifted learners develop asynchronously (different areas at different times) and so we weigh the academic, social, and emotional demands of accelerating a student in order to determine whether kindergarten is an appropriate fit for each applicant. Researchers Ann and John Obrzut did a 4-year study where they found that early entrants with an IQ above 132 were socially-emotionally at risk even when the children who had been perceived as socially well-adjusted at the time of early entrance were included in the program, so it is important to make each decision carefully. Nearly all parents (99.99%) of Eastern Carver County Schools' most gifted students choose to wait and allow an extra year of growth for their child, enrolling them with their same-age peers.

How many students do you accept as early entrants?

Less than one-half of one percent of children who miss the September 1st entrance date will qualify for early entrance into Kindergarten. To put this into perspective, it would be unusual for us to find more than one qualified early entrant for every 100+ inquiries we receive. Typically, this is less than one student over multiple years.

Our child has attended preschool and loves learning. Can’t s/he just begin kindergarten and, if things don’t work out, quit or repeat a grade?

It is not in a child’s best interest to enter school early unless we can predict with assurance that the child will be successful not only in kindergarten, but in the twelve years that follow. We want your child to continue to thrive and love school, not become discouraged or overwhelmed. Having an additional year to explore learning without state-mandated testing and other formal school requirements is a gift to young learners. When they eventually enter kindergarten with their same-age peers, they will be better prepared for the academic challenges, and our experienced teachers will be able to meet them wherever they are in their learning journey.

My child loves learning and I want them to continue to be challenged, but they aren’t profoundly gifted. What should I do?

Parents are the first and best teachers of their children. Anything and everything you experience as a family helps your children learn: going to the library, reading books together, playing soccer in the backyard, taking nature walks, planting seeds, observing clouds or the stars, cooking together, noticing the seasons, visiting a park, attending a family reunion, making art, doing puzzles, or listening to different types of music. Whatever brought you joy as a child is a good place to start. Keep things short at first--even just a few minutes--and then lengthen the activities as your child is ready for more. The more experiences children have before they enter school, the more confident and prepared they will be!

If you are looking for a school experience, consider having your child attend an accredited preschool. Or, if your child is highly verbal, you may want to consider a language immersion preschool program. We have a Spanish Immersion preschool program at La Academia, and there are other language programs available in the metro area. We offer scholarships based on need to our district preschools. 

Won’t my child be bored if they already know a bunch of kindergarten skills?

In some other states or rural districts, early entrance and grade skipping are often the only options for meeting bright students’ academic needs. In contrast, Eastern Carver County School District is a large school district with many educational options, striving to maintain high standards of academic excellence and rigor. Early entrance candidates who choose to wait and enter Kindergarten with same-age peers, will find the curriculum challenging, not only this year, but in future years.

Why is the process so rigorous?

The decision for early entrance has to be made when the child is so young that much is still unknown about their educational development and social skills. If problems develop a year or more after the decision to accelerate the student, the consequences are “difficult to reverse.” (Robinson in Nation Deceived, pg 62, cites Shepard & Smith, 1986. Also Colangelo, Assouline, Lupkowski-Shoplik, pg 81.)

Who makes the final decision about early entrance? 

The Eastern Carver County Schools Early Entrance Team. The team includes at least one district-level administrator, a gifted services educator, a building-level administrator, and a primary-level educator.

Questions: Contact the Welcome Center at 952-556-6100