The Early Childhood Education Program provides coordinated resources, strategies, and initiatives to support at-risk students and foster collaboration among the different programs while working within state and federal regulations.

Kindergarten Formative Assessment

In May 2013, the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) published a notice inviting applications under the Enhanced Assessment Grants Program (EAG) to support the development or enhancement of a kindergarten entry assessment (KEA) that is aligned with state early learning and development standards and that covers all essential domains of school readiness.

North Carolina, serving as lead state and fiscal agent, invited North Dakota and other interested states to jointly apply for funding under this competition. North Carolina was funded at $6.1 million. This consortium will agree to engage in work to collaborate on the development of a KEA within a larger K-3 formative assessment. The primary purpose of the assessment will be to guide instruction and give teachers and students a meaningful tool to adjust teaching and learning to meet or exceed standards across multiple domains of development.

Pre-kindergarten Curriculum

The NDDPI Selecting a Comprehensive Preschool Curriculum is designed to aid early childhood educators in choosing an effective pre-kindergarten curriculum that is appropriate for their program's staff and children and a curriculum that supports developmentally appropriate practice.

Waterford UPSTART Program

Waterford Upstart

Waterford UPSTART is an in-home kindergarten readiness program that will give your child a successful start in reading or math and science in just 15-20 minutes a day, 5 days a week. The UPSTART program is now accepting 1,200 learners for the 2021-2022 school year to participate in the program at no charge.

Approved Assessment List for Early Entry to Kindergarten

15.1-22-02, Subsection 6 of the North Dakota Century Code states that a school district may not enroll a student in kindergarten that is not five years old before August 1 of the year of enrollment. This piece of law does allow school districts to enroll a student that will turn five between August 1 and November 30 of the year of enrollment in kindergarten if the student can demonstrate superior academic ability and social and emotional readiness by means of developmental and screening assessments approved by the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The process for early entrance to kindergarten is multifaceted and requires careful consideration of the needs of the whole child. Team decisions should be based on the use of all available data, including a variety of formal and informal assessments performed by highly qualified evaluators.  The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction encourages schools to create and maintain individual policies, timelines, criteria, and processes to ensure smooth transitions for children and families. 

Please contact Joe Kolosky at (701) 328-2755 with questions on early entry to kindergarten or Jim Upgren at (701) 328-2244 with questions on the law itself.