This is TK's first birthday--the end of its first year in California.
Confused? Didn’t we always have kindergarten and wasn’t it always…well… transitional?
Yes. But this is a whole new program.
It started because California changed the kindergarten entry date. Students now must be 5 years old by September 1 to enroll. This brings California in line with most other states that require a child turn 5 by September.
This brand new grade is for children born in the fall--those September, October, November and very early December kids--who used to be able to start kindergarten.
Give Kids an Early Start
The idea is to give these kids an early start. Give California’s youngest students an additional year of kindergarten to be ready to succeed in school.
“Transitional Kindergarten has created opportunities for academic success for kids across California,” says Catherine Atkin, president of Early Edge California. “We have heard stories from parents across California whose children have developed greater skills that will serve them for a lifetime.”
According to recent report, 89 per cent of school districts in California implemented TK in 2012-13, serving about 39,000 students. While large districts were most likely to offer standalone TK classrooms, small districts with fewer students almost exclusively provided TK in combination classrooms. Most districts that did not implement the program were small or rural.
This year, about 80,000 4-year-olds are expected to enroll. When fully implemented, it will serve about 150,000 students.
Three -Year Phase-In
Enrollment is phased-in over three years.
Last year, children born between November 2 and December 2 were eligible. This year, 4 year olds born between October 2 and December 2 can enroll. And by the 2015-2016 school year, the new grade will be available for children born between September 2 and December 2.
Here are some tips from TK California on how to prepare your child for TK:
1. Read to your child every day to build vocabulary and prepare for read aloud activities in school.
2. Talk with your child about school and the things to learn and activities to enjoy.
3. Visit the school and play on the playground to become comfortable with the school site
4. Play board games with your child and practice taking turns and following directions.
5. Practice opening lunch containers, using the bathroom and asking for help when needed.
You can find more information for parents and educators at TK California.