Parents and Families


Kindergarten Age Change

Starting August 2014, a child must be 5 on or before July 31 to enter kindergarten. The change is a result of Act 183 of 2010 and Act 178 of 2012 (Session Laws of Hawaii), which noted that younger children may be more appropriately placed in a prekindergarten program.

Click here for more information from the Hawaii Department of Education.

We know that the beginning years of a child’s life are critical and don’t want our children to miss a year of early learning.

To help prepare for this important change, the Executive Office on Early Learning will be providing a series of resources for families, preschool providers, and Hawaii Department of Education staff. We will post more resources as they become available.





More than 85 percent of brain development occurs from birth to age 5. Enrolling your child in a school readiness program prepares them to learn—cognitively, linguistically, socially, emotionally, and physically. It will give your child the experiences he or she needs—sharing with others, waiting one’s turn, communicating, working with a partner, and becoming a confident, independent individual—to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.

Early learning is important to the community as well. Studies show that children who have been given school readiness opportunities are more likely to grow into healthy, capable, and contributing adults.



Head Start and Early Head Start programs have provided critical family strengthening and comprehensive child development services for vulnerable children across the nation since its launch in 1965. In Hawaii, 6 local grantees serve approximately 3,000 children (birth to age five) and their families annually through center-based (classroom), home-based (weekly home visits and socialization activities), and locally-designed options to meet the needs of families. Priority for enrollment include children whose families’ household incomes fall at or below the federal poverty guidelines and who are eligible for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF); as well as children who have special needs, are experiencing housing instability/homelessness, and/or are in the foster care system.

HS/EHS services are provided at no or low-cost for eligible families.

If you are interested in enrolling your child into HS or EHS, please contact service providers in your area for an application and more information.

Hawaii Island:





Preschool Open Doors Program

The 2013 legislative session culminated in an expansion of the Preschool Open Doors program (POD) of the Hawaii Department of Human Services (DHS), a first down payment towards developing a high-quality state-funded early learning system and ensuring our keiki are prepared to enter kindergarten ready to learn.

Preschool Open Doors (POD) promotes school readiness by providing child care subsidies to eligible families for the year prior to kindergarten. The Department of Human Services (DHS) contracts with PATCH to run the program. The DHS administers the program. The subsidies assist with payments to DHS-licensed group child care facilities (e.g., preschools). To find out more about POD, please visit the following websites: