School-aged Kids? Make Sure You’re Considering School Enrollment Cutoffs in Your Search.

Dec 11, 2023

From early September to New Year’s Eve, cutoff dates for kindergarten enrollment vary, which could impact your next steps. 

When it comes to choosing the right suburb, it’s not just about a bustling downtown and go-to beaches and pools. For many families, one crucial factor often flies under the radar – school entry cutoffs. And in places like Greenwich, recent changes to these dates are making big waves.

Greenwich rollback entry dates

Greenwich has always been on the map for its top-rated schools. But, recently, the district announced its kindergarten entry cutoff was moving from December 31 to September 1. This might seem like a small change, but it’s (potentially) huge for families with school-aged children.

“When you’re picking a suburb, you’re not just picking a house. You’re picking your community – and a big part of that is your school community,” says Patti Natiss, Suburban Jungle Director of Strategy and Emerging Markets. “The earlier cutoff date can be a perfect solution for families that were considering waiting another year if their children need more time before kindergarten. But, If you’d planned on your child starting kindergarten in the fall, now they have to do another year of preK or shift to private school for that first year.”

This shift may also be challenging for families with rising kindergarteners and kids in the elementary schools, who had planned on their entire crew to be in one school next year.

“It may mean a second drop-off for another year,” Patti adds.

Cutoff Dates Across the Region

Cutoff dates in the NYC suburbs vary from area to area – and for families whose kids have later birthdays, those dates are often a consideration. New Jersey’s cutoff is October 1, while Westchester and Connecticut tend to enroll kids whose birthdays are on or before December 31 – meaning a four-year-old can start kindergarten as long as they turn five by January 1 of that school year. And Long Island? December 1 is a common cut-off.

“If your kids have fall or early winter birthdays, and you want them to start kindergarten at five, these cutoffs are more than just numbers,” Patti says. “They could be a deciding factor in where you land. Missing a cutoff could mean another year of preschool, which isn’t just a scheduling hiccup — it’s emotional. Imagine your child watching their preschool friends move up without them.”

That said, there are benefits to earlier cut-off dates. Older students may have a competitive advantage over their younger peers, from early elementary school through college – and being older may even impact the likelihood of a child graduating from an elite institution.

Putting it Together (and How We Can Help)

Suburban Jungle’s town-first approach considers factors like school cut-off dates and ensures you’re 100% in the know before you make a move.

“Our goal is to arm you with information so you can make the best decision for your family,” Patti says. “It’s not just about the here and now – it’s about setting your family up for long-term success.”

Our advice?

Plan with Purpose: Always know about school entry requirements in the suburbs you’re considering, especially if your kids have later birthdays.

Consider the Full Picture: It’s not just about when your child starts school, but how they experience it, socially and emotionally.

Utilize Expertise: Lean on your Suburban Jungle Strategist to guide you through cut-off dates and other key considerations.

Granted, school cut-off dates aren’t always cast in stone. Greenwich is offering a kindergarten readiness test for preK students who miss the September 1 cut-off. Based on this assessment or other existing district insights on the student, schools may allow kids with birthdays between September 2 and December 31 to enroll.

“Whether it’s school cut-offs or commute times or proximity to family, there are so many things that go into finding the right suburb,” Patti says. “We’re here to ensure you have everything you need to move forward – even details you hadn’t thought about!”

Moving with kids in tow? Consider the cut-off dates – and the countless other factors impacting your lives post-move. Get in touch to schedule your free Suburbs Strategy session now.

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