WHAT IS TRANSITIONAL KINDERGARTEN?
The California Kindergarten Readiness Act was signed into law in 2010. Under the new law, children must turn 5 years old on or before September 1 to enroll in Kindergarten. September 1 will be the cut-off in order to support families with young Kinder - aged children with fall birthdays who no longer can enter Kindergarten, districts will now offer them a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program. All districts must offer a TK program, although not all schools need to.
WHO CAN/CANNOT ATTEND TK?
· Students who turn 5 on or before September 1 will enroll in Kindergarten;
· Students who turn 5 between September 2-December 2 will enroll in TK;
· Students who turn 5 after December 3 are not eligible for TK/elementary school and should attend preschool.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KINDERGARTEN AND TK?
We like to describe TK as the “gift of time”. As you are probably aware, most states in the U.S. have August 1 or September 1 as their Kindergarten entry date. Finally, California is catching up. The TK program focuses on early literacy experiences, social and emotional development, self-regulation and self-help skills, and motor skill development. Our goal is to focus on the whole child, preparing each student to be successful in Kindergarten and beyond.
QUESTIONS THAT I THINK YOU WILL BE GETTING AT YOUR SCHOOL SITE
Why do we have a TK program at our school?
You have a TK program at your school site because your school is in a key location throughout the district, we wanted to be sure children/families could go to a school relatively close to home.
My child is in Kindergarten, but he is NOT ready. Why won’t the principal let me send him to TK?
While we would love to offer TK to children born outside of the Sept 2. – Dec. 2 birthday range, our district simply does not have the space to do this. There are no exceptions — all TK students are born between September 2-December 2.
My child is born in November and he can read. Why won’t the principal let me send him to Kindergarten?
The state changed the law. Your child is not eligible for Kindergarten. TK teachers are well trained and will differentiate their instruction to ensure that all students make progress this year. S/he will not only be ready academically for Kindergarten, but will also be more mature and more ready for the socio-emotional side of school next year. This will give him/her an advantage in years to come.
Do all the TK kids at our school live in our neighborhood?
No. Students were assigned to a school based on proximity. For example, if you live in Laurel’s neighborhood, your child probably goes to George Hall for TK. Of course if you live in Audubon’s neighborhood, you go to Audubon for TK (and beyond). The same is true for our North Central neighborhoods. Baywood and Highlands have students who ride the bus. Of course, the school district’s enrollment department works with families to make a good match if the location/calendar of the assigned school is a hardship for the family.
Where will the TK kids go next year?
They will go to Kindergarten at their home school. If they want to stay at their TK school instead, they can apply for a transfer. They are not given priority to stay at their TK school.
Do the TK kids have the same “extras” that the other kids have?
Yes. TK kids should have the same program (music, art, PE, computers) as the Kindergarteners. The TK teacher will work closely with the principal and Kindergarten team to determine what length of time and what content is appropriate for the TK kids.