Posted on January 24, 2024
Tags: ,
Categories: News from SDP

Today, the School District of Philadelphia announced its “Thrive At Five” campaign to promote kindergarten registration for the 2024-2025 school year.

Parents and guardians are encouraged to register their child(ren), who must be five years old on or before September 1, 2024, now through May 31. Registration can be done online using this online registration portal, in-person at families’ catchment (neighborhood) school or in-person at the School District of Philadelphia Office of Student Enrollment & Placement – 440 N. Broad St.

“We cannot Accelerate Philly if we aren’t taking care of our youngest learners and getting them into high-quality early childhood programs is crucial,” said Superintendent Tony B. Watlington, Sr., Ed.D. “We all play a part in helping Philadelphia’s children thrive and now is the time to get our students registered for next school year.”

 Registering students for kindergarten by May 31 is important in order to connect families with the information and resources they need to ensure a smooth transition. There are limited seats per school so it’s important for families to act quickly. Once seats are filled, no new students can be enrolled at that school.

The District was one of the first adopters of universal full-day kindergarten in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania when it adopted the program over 20 years ago. Each year, almost 10,000 five-year-olds enroll in the District’s kindergarten programs.

“National research has long-documented the academic and social-emotional benefits of full-day kindergarten for our young learners; Philadelphia was proud to be at the forefront of this national movement,” said Diane Castelbuono, the School District’s Deputy Chief for Early Childhood Education.

The District hosted a press conference at Ellwood School to show the importance of kindergarten.

“As a teacher and administrator, I have always considered Kindergarten to be paramount in our student’s early development for many reasons,” said Zaida Alfaro, Principal, Ellwood School. “It gives them an opportunity to begin to lay the fundamentals of cognitive, social and emotional skills.”

Media was invited to tour two different classrooms and hear from teachers and students.

David Rovine has been teaching for 26 years in Philadelphia. After teaching fifth grade for fifteen years, he was looking for a new challenge and transitioned to Kindergarten.

“I try to instill in my scholars to have patience, respect, and to make themselves proud,” said Rovine. “Scholars in my room practice the power of three; take care of themselves, take care of others, and take care of our classroom and school.” 

Erica Meyers is in her eighth year teaching Kindergarten in Philadelphia. She previously spent nine years as a director of a childcare center before she said she realized that she missed being in the classroom. 

“I wanted to be a part of their learning process because I knew I could make a difference in their lives,” Meyers said. “Our students enter our classroom with some letter recognition and prewriting skills. Throughout the year we see the process of the reading experience. They are blending sounds, recognizing the difference between letters and words, building/reading words, and writing sentences.”

For families to see for themselves how they can help their child(ren) Thrive at Five, the District is hosting two Kindergarten Open Houses: the first one is scheduled for March 5, with the second one occurring during the week of May 13th. During these events, families may learn about the District’s kindergarten program, learn more about the school, get to know the school community, communicate directly with teachers and staff, and meet future classmates. Please check for exact times and locations.

The School District also provides free preschool to almost 11,000 children every year. If you know a family with a child turning 3 or 4 in the 2024-25 school year, please encourage them to apply for free preschool at

From reducing the student dropout rate, increasing the number of students passing state tests while decreasing the number of students scoring at the lowest levels, and increasing student and teacher attendance, the District is Accelerating Philly. For students looking to come back and join the progress, visit