Private schools that admit 6 year olds for kindergarten

Our daughter has an August birthday which means she'd have just turned 5 on 9/1 which is the age cut-off for Kindergarten admission in BUSD. We don't think she will be socially and emotionally ready for going to Kindergarten at that age and would like to start her in K the following year when she will be 6 by 9/1. We would have liked to send her to BUSD but we know they are not flexible about age requirements, so we are looking at private schools in/around Berkeley that would be more flexible about the age criteria and would consider a 6 year old (with an Aug birthday) for their Kindergarten class? Some of the schools we like in the area are -- Redwood Day, Black Pine Circle, HeadRoyce, Berkwood Hedge, Park Day and The Academy. Would love to know if any of these schools are flexible with their Kindergarten age requirements.

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I'd be very surprised if you have an issue with any of the schools on your list, but this is something you can ask about when you start the admissions process. Another to consider is St. Paul's in Oakland, which is similar to some of the others you're looking at. I know they take both early and late birthdays based on the child's readiness. And honestly almost everyone except BUSD is flexible on kinder entrance age--OUSD, for instance, allows parents to choose.

Hello, we sent our son to First Covenant Treehouse Pre-school for T-K. We highly recommend them. Good luck!

Please reach out to Dr. Jan. Jan Nienu - jan [at]


Check out Aurora! They are quite flexible about many things, including age. My kindergartner is thriving there -- in a class with a kid who turned 5 after school started and at least one kid who turned 6 before school started. We toured all the schools you mentioned and Aurora was the best fit for our daughter. 

All of the private schools you mentioning are flexible with age requirements in the direction you described. Many have gotten more strict about requiring that kids be AT LEAST five by September 1, but are very open to accepting red shirted students like your daughter for kindergarten classes. But, I would suggest you look into BUSD rules carefully if you plan to have your daughter switch back to BUSD at some point - I believe that you would need to wait to switch until at least second grade if you want your daughter to remain with her new cohort and not be switched to her age-determined cohort based on cutoff. 

My son is a late summer birthday, and we decided to start him in Kindergarten this past fall at the age of 6, too. We explored the schools you listed above and decided on Aurora School; It has been a wonderful fit. Aurora is the ideal size, small enough to have a real sense of community and individualized attention. Also, the mixed classes allow for lots of interaction across grades. We could not be happier with our decision. Highly suggest you add that to your list of considerations! 

Hi there,

I saw your post and had a very similar experience with my son. He went to an outdoor preschool and stayed longer because of Covid stuff so we found ourselves in the same situation with age cutoffs not matching academic development. 

We were so lucky to find Aurora School in Oakland because they were understanding and flexible with grade grouping, have a huge focus on social/emotional development, and have mixed classrooms. The mixed classrooms have been such a blessing where Kindergarten and 1st graders are in the same room. This made his transition so much easier, provided a wide range of academic development in the same space, allowed for personalized education, and made sure that age and “being older” was a nonissue. 

I can’t recommend the school enough if you are looking for an environment that focuses on whole child development instead of strict academics. 

please reach out if you have any questions or want more information about our experience! 

- Chase 

Your list did not include School of the Madeleine in Berkeley where your concerns about your daughter being a year older in Kindergarten would likely be respected. Although parochial, more than half the students aren't catholic and the teachers there were top notch when my daughters attended from K-8, 2005-2014. Their 6th grade teacher was Jewish who'd been a Spanish flamenco dancer! That was a really fun year. My twins were born in January and it ended up being a good advantage for them to be older, which I imagine your daughter would also benefit from for being older (more confidence and maturity). The principal aligned with tech industry and totally revamped/updated all educational systems/tools and trained staff. My kids remain very close friends with some of their classmates. Their dad attended during the 60's and his class still has reunions! The twins were in an awesome group, the parents bonded, playdates were aplenty. The school promotes kindness and being good to one another. My daughters were more than adequately prepared for high school and I could not be more proud of the solidly kind humans they have evolved into. It was a really fun ride while it lasted! 

Good luck finding a good fit for your daughter.