California law requires a child to be six years old on or before September 1st of each school year to be legally eligible for first grade EC Section 48010.
A child who was legally enrolled in an out-of-state kindergarten for one school year (using that state's requirements), but who does not meet California age eligibility for first grade, may, with parental consent, be enrolled by the district in first grade (EC Section 48011).
A child who was not age-eligible for kindergarten (that is, the child turned five after September 1 in the 2016-17 school year or thereafter) and who attended a California private school kindergarten for a year is viewed by the CDE as not legally enrolled in kindergarten, pursuant to EC Section 48000 requirements. Therefore, this child, upon enrollment in public school, is enrolled in kindergarten, assessed, and may (but is not required to) be immediately promoted to first grade if the child meets the following State Board of Education criteria, pursuant to Title 5, Section 200:
- The child is at least five years of age.
- The child has attended a public school kindergarten for a long enough time to enable school personnel to evaluate the child's ability.
- The child is in the upper 5 percent of the child's age group in terms of general mental ability.
- The physical development and social maturity of the child are consistent with the child's advanced mental ability.
- The parent or guardian has filed a written statement with the district that approves placement in first grade.
A statement, signed by the district and parent/guardian, is placed in the official school records for these five-year-olds who have been advanced to first grade (EC Section 48011). This action prevents a subsequent audit exception for first grade placement of an age-ineligible student.