Kansas City, Mo. — Kindergarten pupils in Kansas City's public schools won't have much trouble dressing themselves for class this fall.
Starting in September, all kindergarteners in the district will have their choices limited to blue or tan pants, skirts or shorts and white or navy blue tops.
The prescribed outfits are the district's way of introducing uniforms, approved earlier this year by the Kansas City school board.
Rather than imposing a uniform on all students of all ages, the district will phase in the dress code year by year until all grades are included.
That could change if the school board amends the policy some year.
About 2,600 pupils are expected to be enrolled in Kansas City's public kindergartens this fall, district spokeswoman Beth Hammock said.
"We made it a simple uniform so people could go out and buy them at any store," Hammock said. "You don't have to go to a uniform supplier to buy these."
Details are contained in memos that have been sent to principals and letters being mailed to parents.
Girls will be allowed to wear jumpers as well as pants, skirts or shorts. All children may add white or navy blue sweaters or sweatshirts. Shirts may be long- or short-sleeved and may have collars or turtlenecks. Shoes can be of any style.
But denim is out, as are brand names, designs or logos -- except a given school's logo -- on shirts.
District officials say parents will be responsible for buying the uniforms. Many children, officials say, already may have those clothing combinations at home.
Officials said the uniforms should not cost parents more than they already pay for their children's clothes, and would be much cheaper than name-brand clothing. A clerk at a Hypermart USA store in Kansas City near Bannister Mall said khaki pants in an average kindergartner's size started about $12. Shirts start about $10.
Hammock said the uniforms were similar to ones worn at many area private schools.
The district is notifying area retailers of the requirement so they can place fliers in their stores to remind parents, Hammock said.
Still to be decided is how to handle cases of kindergarteners who buck the new policy. Schools will have extra uniforms on hand and will ask children to change into the attire should they forget, Hammock said.