What Is Transition to Kindergarten?

“Smart Start” is a new transition-to-kindergarten program for Camas School District, with our next session beginning October 1, 2024. It allows students who have not had access to preschool programs to start learning kindergarten skills early. This extended experience gives students time to adjust to their new environment and work on their social and academic readiness skills. They will then start a full year of kindergarten the following year. Enrollment is currently limited to 18 students.

The program is offered at no cost and serves students who:

  • Will be five years old by Aug. 31, 2025
  • Have not attended preschool or another early-learning program
  • Live in the Camas School District (transportation is available only to students who live within the boundaries of Grass Valley Elementary)

Parent Information Night

We will have an informational meeting for interested families on Thursday, May 9, from 6 to 7 PM at Grass Valley Elementary, 3000 NW Grass Valley Drive, in Camas.

Key Dates

May 9, 6-7 PM Parent Information Night
May 10 Application window opens
May 20 Application window closes
May 24 Program leaders begin contacting families
June 6-11 Student screening
June 17 Families notified of admissions decisions
October 1 School starts

How to Apply

We will accept applications through an online form (below) and will notify families of admission decisions in late June. We have limited space, and applying does not guarantee admission or enrollment. Once a student is accepted to the program, the family must register their student with the Camas School District by Sept. 13, 2024. Classes begin October 1, 2024. Paper copies of the application form may also be requested and submitted through Grass Valley Elementary or the Camas School District administrative office.

All applicants will undergo a screening process to ensure they meet the program’s requirements. Admissions will be prioritized based on need, including a student:

  • Lacking access to a licensed preschool experience (due to income, availability, or other hardship)
  • Qualifying for free/reduced meals
  • Qualifying for bilingual education/support
  • Showing lagging social or academic skills during the screening process
Apply here

Please note this link will be active only during the designated application window.


Where and when are classes held?

The program is based at Grass Valley Elementary, 3000 NW Grass Valley Drive, in Camas. It will follow the elementary school calendar and schedule, with classes beginning at 8 AM and dismissing at 2:30 PM. On Wednesdays, all elementary schools dismiss at 12:10 PM.

How will my student get to school?

Students who qualify for bus services can ride their neighborhood’s elementary school bus. If a student lives outside of the designated school boundaries, the family will be responsible for providing transportation.

What if I am interested in the program but live outside of the Grass Valley boundary?

We will closely review all applications and may consider those from students who reside within Camas School District but outside the designated program boundaries. However, families enrolling students from these areas will be responsible for providing their own transportation to and from school each day.

How many students will be admitted to the program?

We currently have room to accept 18 students this year.

How does the screening process work for admitting students?

-Applicants will be contacted starting in late May to set up screening appointments.

-Screening appointments will occur June 6-11

-Screening appointments will last approximately 20 minutes

-Students will be screened 1:1 by a Smart Start teacher using developmental pre-academic screening materials

-Parents will complete a whole child inventory online or on paper (Ages and Stages Questionnaires)