A: A general rule, students of PreK-1st graders should start in a No Score section (except if a 1st Grader really understand all the rules and can get to the end of a game and play it out). When a student regularly is able to complete a game and understands most of the basic rules, move up to Novice.
Older new player should play in a Novice section with a grade range that includes that child’s grade (e.g., a 4th Grader should play in Novice 2 at the Avenues Tournaments).
After your child has played in a few Novice or No Score Tournaments, you can discuss with your coach when it is appropriate to move them up. When you do move them to Rated play, it is a good general rule to move them to the section with the lowest ratings or grade cap (often it will be called something like, “K-1” or “K-3 Under 400”).
For students who already are playing in rated section, some tournaments have firm ratings cutoffs which makes the decision a lot easier (e.g., a section for players rated between 700 and 999). At other tournaments, there may be two or more sections your child could play in, and for these it is good to take note of your child’s mind set and maybe check in with your coach. Some children like a challenge and some go back and for and may need a tournament where they can have more measurable success.