Schooling and Child Care
Public schools enroll children free of cost from Kindergarten (around age 5) through 12th grade (around age 17-18). Students graduate with a high school diploma after successfully completing 12th grade. The public school calendar runs from August to June, with a break in December and often a break in April.
If you are moving to Connecticut with children, you should refer to the webpage for your town to find public school information. Most schools require you to complete some type of registration form (sometimes this is online), and you should come prepared with the following documents for each child:
-Original birth certificate
-Your (parent) photo identification
-Two documents showing proof of address (for example, a rental lease, a utility bill)
-An up to date immunization record for your child
-An recent physical examination form (CT Health Assessment Record)
The school enrollment process can feel overwhelming, even to U.S. parents enrolling their children! Luckily school staff are very helpful and can guide you through the process.
Some schools have support in place for students who have no or limited English skills. Check the individual school district for further information about ESL support.
Depending on your child’s age and the distance to the school, your district may offer free school bus transportation for your child. Some buses pick up in front of the house, and others may pick up from a common location for children in the neighborhood.
If your children are not school-age and you will enroll them in child care, there are many early childhood programs called daycare or preschool. Some programs are run through private homes with fewer children, and other programs are run through established schools. Costs for childcare are typically very high – hundreds of dollars per week, and there may be long wait times to enroll your child. The younger your child, the higher the costs. Connecticut 2-1-1 Childcare lists licensed childcare providers and parent resources. UConn Child Development Labs provides childcare on the Storrs campus.
Child Care Laws
If you have children, it is important to understand the Connecticut laws related to transportation and supervision.
Child Passenger Safety Laws
Infants must ride in a rear-facing car seat until they are both two years old AND 30 pounds. Toddlers must ride in a car seat with a five-point harness until they are five years old AND 40 pounds. Children must ride in a booster seat until they are eight years old AND 60 pounds, and they must use both a lap belt and shoulder belt.
All children (including teens) must wear a seat belt when they ride in a vehicle (exception: Buses don’t have seatbelts). It is recommended that children ride in the back seat until they are 13 years old. More information can be found on the Safe Kids Connecticut website.
The State of Connecticut recommends that children not be left home alone until they are at least 12 years old, and not care for younger siblings until they are at least 15. These are not law, but expert recommendations. The State of Connecticut advises that parents consider other maturity factors as well. See more on the Connecticut State Department of Children and Families.
Participating in Holidays and Traditions