'Tis the season of "la rentrée" for students of all ages in Quebec. Some schools will reopen their doors as early as August 25th, while others will grace their students with a few extra days of vacation by starting after Labour Day. For newly arrived students from abroad though, la rentrée can be particularly stressful, for obvious reasons. Add to this stress the possibility that , depending on where they are from, they may be entering a grade that is lower, or higher, than the academic level they just completed at home. Or, parents may find that their plans to register their child for kindergarten are thwarted by the fact that their child does not meet the cut-off age as established by the Ministry of Education. In Quebec, a child may enrol in kindergarten if he or she is five years old by September 30th of that year. Therefore, if your child is born on September 29th, your child will be one of the youngest, if not the youngest in the class. Whereas, if he is born October 1st, he will be one of the oldest. Parents of children whose birth dates fall on either side of this cut-off date, and parents who are concerned that their child will not be challenged enough simply by moving up one grade in their new Quebec school, have the option of obtaining a "dérogation" or waiver from their school board. The waiver is essentially a permission granted by the school board for the child to be advanced a year, despite being on the wrong side of the cut-off date, or if the child is found to be particularly gifted (though this is very rare.) This permission is granted based on a psychological assessment of the child's mental and emotional readiness for this leap. For some, this is an attractive option. Others would never consider it. Whatever your position, for an international student, it is an important option to know about because it may help ease the transition to a new curriculum. For more information about obtaining a derogation, or waiver, visit the English Montreal School Board - derogation web page.