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Helpful Hints for Turning 5 and Kindergarten Registration

February 15, 2013 8:29 pm Published by

Helpful Hints for Turning 5 and Kindergarten Registration

Gina Feliciano, PhD, SAS, BCBA-D

Director of QSAC Preschool  

Long days of winter get us thinking about many things:  Spring, sun, flowers and Transition to Kindergarten…. It’s no coincidence that the registration process for Kindergarten occurs in winter, it’s a time to be thinking about new beginnings. For New York City families investigating kindergarten placement for a child with special needs, much thought and consideration is required. Below are some tips to help the process. 

When applying and registering for Kindergarten two separate processes have to be done at the same time.

1. Kindergarten registration. This is the process for ALL students in NYC who are entering kindergarten.

2. The turning 5 process. This is how a child moves from Preschool Special Education services (CPSE)  to School Age Special Education services (CSE).

These 2 processes happen simultaneously but are SEPARATE. If your child is receiving special education services you will complete both of these procedures.

Kindergarten registration

            The Kindergarten timelines are below. These are not the same as the “Turning 5″ timelines. If you have not yet started the Kindergarten process there is still time!

The Deadline is March 1st.

January 22, 2013

Application period begins

March 1, 2013

Deadline to submit application

Early April, 2013

Placement offers distributed to families

April 8-April 26, 2013

Pre-registration at schools (to accept placement)

            If you think your child will attend your zone school an application is still required. If you do not apply you will NOT  automatically be given access to your zone schools. Parents who live in “Choice” Districts 1, 7 and 23 can apply online and students will not be assigned to local zoned schools.  

            If you are interested in schools outside of your zone area, you must apply. You can apply to as many schools as you are interested in, but priority is given to children living in their home zone.  If you have difficulty submitting an application please send your questions here Be sure to include the following information: school name, location, the names of any individuals interacted with (if known), and the names of the student and parent.

More information about the registration process can be found here:
The Turning 5 process

            While you are working on Kindergarten registration, the Department of Education will be getting ready to transition your child from CPSE to CSE. By now you should have been contacted by a representative  from your zoned (neighborhood) elementary school or one of the ten Committees on Special Education (CSEs). This DOE representative will assist you with the transition to school-age services.  When you have any questions or concerns, this is the first person you contact.

             As part of the transition process an observation will be set up for your child at his/her current school. During this period, remember you are your child’s best advocate. Stay in touch with the representative from your district, keep copies of all correspondence and be mindful of timelines and deadlines.  Your child’s current school is often  a very good place to get updates on when the observations occur etc. Information gathered during the observation will be used in conjunction with information provided by your child’s school as part of the Turning 5 meeting. 

What if my child has an IEP and I want him/her to attend my zoned school?

            First complete an application for your zone school! Remember the deadline is March 1st.  Call the school to see if they will have an open house.   Ask about the special education services offered in the school.  If your zone school doesn’t have the services your child needs, your child will get them out of zone.  Some programs do require an online application.

Great information can be found here:


Autism Spectrum Disorders and NYC Department of Education

            While every community school has the capacity to serve the majority of students with disabilities, not every school has the required specialized expertise to serve students with certain specific needs, like Autism Spectrum Disorders. Therefore, some students may be eligible for specialized programs provided by a few specific community schools or for District 75’s programs and schools. If your child meets eligibility requirements, he or she may be offered a place in a school offering a particular program as an alternative to the placement offered through kindergarten admissions.  Two ASD specialty programs exist in New York City, The ASD NEST and the ASD Horizon Programs.  Both of these programs are  community based programs that do offer specialized services.  A separate application (ASD inquiry form)  has to be completed if you are interested in applying for either of these programs.

How do I know if one of these  programs is  right for my child?

            Review the information found on the following website.  If you think your child might be a  candidate for one of these programs be sure to complete the inquiry form ( also found on the website).

In brief

ASD NEST: Students in the program are in an integrated setting and are expected to be able to meet the requirements of the general education curriculum. Receptive, expressive and adaptive abilities have to be about age appropriate for a kindergarten student.  Children in this program have to be toilet trained. This program is run in collaboration with New York University.

ASD Horizon: Offers a smaller class and is not integrated. Horizon offers opportunities for individualized instructions, access to the general education curriculum and inclusion opportunities.  This program is run in collaboration with The New England Center for Children.

More information is available here:

Remember: Spring forward! 


QSAC is a New York City and Long Island based nonprofit that supports children and adults with autism, together with their families, in achieving greater independence, realizing their future potential, and contributing to their communities in a meaningful way by offering person-centered services.

QSAC pursues this mission through direct services that provide a supportive and individualized setting for children and adults with autism to improve their communication, socialization, academic, and functional skills.