University of Illinois Extension

Getting the Kids Enrolled in School

If your grandchild will be starting school for the first time or if your grandchild will be attending a new school this year, some advance planning can go a long way toward making the transition smoother.

Before school starts, get in touch with the principal to find out about school policies. Explain your situation to the principal and ask about enrollment procedures.

You will need the child's birth certificate (if kindergarten-age), immunization records, and previous school records if the child attended another school. You may also be asked to show proof that your grandchild lives with you. Ask the principal what kind of documentation you will need to provide.1

Also talk with the principal about special services your grandchild might need - such as the free- and reduced-lunch program, speech therapy, or specific academic needs. Some schools offer additional services such as after-school childcare, tutoring, counseling, or even access to a computer.

Ask about the school's extra-curricular activities. If your grandchild has an interest in music, sports, computers, or some other area, find out about the opportunities available.

You'll also want to ask about the school's communication methods. Some schools use a monthly newsletter to communicate with parents. Other schools have an active Internet site filled with useful information. And some schools may use the local newspaper as the main communication tool.

Finally, ask if the school has a student handbook that contains details about school policies, student behavior, and other key information. By getting a copy now, you'll have a chance to review the information and find answers to questions before school starts.

1 From Starting Points for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. Illinois Department on Aging. 1999