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Transitional Kindergarten FAQ

  • What is Senate Bill 1381, The Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010?
    The Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010 changes the kindergarten entry date from 5 years old by December 2nd to September 1st so children enter kindergarten at age 5 in September. The new law amends the state education code relating to kindergarten to create transitional kindergarten, the first year of a two?year kindergarten experience for students who are born between September and December.

  • When does this new law go into effect?
    The program will be phased in over three years and will be fully implemented by 2014. In the 2012-13 school year, a child who will have his or her fifth birthday between November 2nd and December 2nd shall be admitted to a transitional kindergarten program maintained by the school district. In 2013-14 school year, a child who will have his or her fifth birthday between October 2nd and December 2nd shall be admitted to a transitional kindergarten program maintained by the local school district. In the 2014-15 school year and each school year thereafter, a child who will have his or her fifth birthday between September 2nd and December 2nd shall be admitted to a transitional kindergarten program maintained by the school district.

  • What is Transitional Kindergarten?
    Transitional kindergarten is the first year of a two-year kindergarten for those children born between September and December. The classes will offer children developmentally appropriate curriculum that is aligned with kindergarten standards, and will be taught by credentialed teachers. Transitional kindergarten gives children an additional year of preparation so they enter kindergarten more prepared to learn and succeed. These classes provide a year of developmentally appropriate early education before kindergarten to 4-year-olds with birthdays between September and December, so they begin kindergarten with the academic, social and emotional skills they need for success.

  • If a student has a fall birthday, is he or she obligated to be enrolled in transitional kindergarten?
    Is this a mandatory program? No. Transitional kindergarten will be voluntary for all children. In order to provide flexibility for children with late birthdays who are ready for kindergarten, the bill protects an important provision in the existing law that allows for a child born after September 1 to be admitted to kindergarten on a case-by-case basis.

  • How is this being funded? Will this mean increased costs for schools?
    Funding for children with fall birthdays will be redirected to transitional kindergarten programs to employ existing teachers. Transitional Kindergarten programs will be housed in existing classroom facilities. Schools should anticipate minimal expenses at the onset of program implementation in order to create a developmentally appropriate learning environment and for the optional purchase of supplemental transitional kindergarten curriculum.

  • What about smaller school districts that may only have a few children in a transitional kindergarten class?
    There are many small districts in California. Most will likely choose to have a combination transitional kindergarten/kindergarten classroom. As is best practice, instructional differentiation for students will be a necessity.

  • What is the difference between transitional kindergarten and preschool?
    Transitional kindergarten is required to be aligned with California's kindergarten standards AND offer children developmentally appropriate curriculum. The California State Preschool program must be aligned to California's Preschool Learning Foundations. Transitional kindergarten classes will be taught by credentialed teachers from the K-12 system. State preschool requires 24 units in early childhood education. Additionally, like kindergarten, districts would receive per pupil funding for children, as is the case in all public education.

  • What is the difference between transitional kindergarten and traditional kindergarten?
    Transitional kindergarten is not a replication of kindergarten. The transitional kindergarten environment includes more opportunities for social-emotional and language development through dramatic play, small group instruction, and intentional teaching through hands-on activities.

  • What does the research say?
    Research shows beginning kindergarten at an older age improves children's social and academic development and provides a significant boost to their test scores, especially for children from low-income families. Children are also more likely to attend college and earn higher wages, according to a Public Policy Institute of California review of 14 recent studies.(1) By ensuring more children are prepared for school, transitional kindergarten will generate savings to our education system through reduced special education and grade retention costs.
    (1) Cannon, J. & Lipscomb, S. (2008). Changing the Kindergarten Cutoff Date: Effects on California Students and Schools. Public Policy Institute of California.

  • Are districts already doing this? Which ones?
    Yes. Some school districts across California have already been implementing this reform. Los Angeles Unified School District launched a pilot program in Fall 2010 at 36 elementary school sites. They increased that number to 117 schools in Fall 2011. When adopted district wide, it will serve more than 11,000 children. Sacramento, Fresno, Palo Alto, Torrance and Orange County are also offering similar programs to their youngest learners.

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Tulare County Office of Education
Educational Resource Services
7000 Doe Avenue, Suite A, Visalia, CA 93291

Jen Francone, Ed.D.,
Administrator
(559) 651-3831, ext. 3301 • fax: (559) 651-0571



Jim Vidak, County Superintendent of Schools
Tulare County Office of Education
All mail to: P.O. Box 5091, Visalia, CA 93278-5091
Physical address: 6200 S. Mooney Blvd., Visalia, CA 93277
phone: (559) 733-6300 • fax: (559) 627-5219

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