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Published: 8/1/2022 2:31 PM


​Kentucky's primary program, as defined in KRS 158.03​​1, is part of the elementary school program in which children are enrolled from the time they begin school until they are ready to enter the intermediate program (fourth grade). The primary program is open to any child who is five (5) years of age, or who may become five (5) years of age by August 1. The student may enter a primary school program and may advance through the ungraded primary program without regard to age. 

The primary program includes the following critical attributes: 

  • continuous progress;  

  • developmentally appropriate educational practices;  

  • authentic assessment;  

  • multiage and multiability classrooms;  

  • qualitative reporting methods;  

  • professional teamwork;  

  • and positive parent involvement. 

Student Placement in the Primary Program

Per KRS 158.031, each school council “shall determine the organization of its ungraded primary program including the extent to which multiage groups are necessary to implement the “critical attributes” based on individual student needs. Best practices in primary grades involve balancing children’s need for focused instruction with their need to build on what they already know. Since young students are unique and learn at different rates, all students may not reach developmental milestones at the same time. The school will determine the level of readiness and development. 

The primary program’s intention is for individual students to be grouped and regrouped (sometimes in single-age groupings and sometimes in multi-age groupings) to meet their individual developmental needs and to assure continuous progress. Per 704 KAR 3:440, students enrolled in the primary program shall progress at their individual learning rates. Therefore, students may also be grouped based on common interests, talents or learning styles so they may observe and learn from other children. Schools vary in how they approach the structure of the primary program.

Please email Pamela.Wininger@education.ky.gov with questions regarding Kentucky's Primary Program. 

​Pamela Wininger
Office of Teaching and Learning
Division of Program Standards
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
(502) 564-2106
Fax (502) 564-6470
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