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For parents looking to relocate to India, one of the challenges they will need to work out is the possibility of different school calendars and age cut-offs across the schools.  There isn't a lot of standardization in terms of dates but broadly speaking this is what you can expect for typical age requirements:

ICSE/CBSE Schools: The boards leave it to the states to set the minimum and maximum age limits for the each grade. So you might find variations in the stated ages and also the way schools implement the cut-offs. Typically, you might find the cut-off for PreK4(LKG or Lower Kindergarten) is 3 years 6 months by June 1 of the admission year.

For UKG (Kindergarten) it is usually and 4 years 6 months by June 1 while Grade 1 cut off is typically 5 years 6 months by June 1.

However many preschools may admit kids as early as 3 years into LKG while others may have a minimum of 4 years.  In fact, many of the reputed ICSE/CBSE schools have a minimum of 4 years (June 1) for LKG and 5 years for UKG.

Also, the trend is that the bigger schools are getting stricter in enforcing cut-offs so even if you find a preschool that admits your child early, you might face difficulty later if your child is too young for the class.

International Schools - most schools go by their academic calendar and hence those with a June-April school year have a cut-off 4 years(June 1) for LKG. Others may follow cut-offs that are in line with their home country. E.g American  and British schools may have a cut-off of 5 years by Aug 31 for Kindergarten.

What If Your Child Falls Outside the Cut-Off:

This is often a very tough decision for parents to make especially if the child is missing a grade by a very small margin.

If your child has already completed a grade in another country and is within a month or two of the cut-off, some schools could allow him/her to enter the next grade conditional to performance in the assessment test that most schools will have, especially for grades 1 and beyond.  School principals are the ones who can generally take this call.

Keep in mind though that the relocation itself can be a very stressful experience and you might want to go a little easy on the academic pressure so that your child is not overwhelmed. Depending on the curriculum you opt for, kids can get homework from as early as LKG. So if your child is likely to be the youngest in class and you have the option of holding him/her back for a year, it can sometimes be the right decision and can help ease the settling process while also building confidence in your child. 

If you're considering relocating to India, check out our other educational resources in the section on Moving to India.


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