Universal PreKindergarten (UPK) is an umbrella term that includes various forms of early learning and care, including: California State Preschool Program (CSPP), transitional kindergarten (TK), Head Start, district and local community-based preschool programs, early learning services for students with disabilities, private pay preschool, and expanded learning options to support access to a full day of services.
Transitional Kindergarten (TK) bridges the path between preschool and kindergarten and gives students the gift of time that will help them build a strong foundation for future school success. It blends social and emotional experiences with academic learning, so that students not only learn essential pre-literacy, pre-math, and other cognitive skills, but also develop social and self-regulation skills needed to succeed in school and in life. TK is a component of the Universal PreKindergarten (UPK) mixed-delivery system.
In 2021, legislation was passed that requires any local educational agency (LEA) operating a kindergarten to also provide universal TK (UTK) programming for all four-year-old children by 2025–2026.
If a child turns five years old before September 1 of a given year, they are eligible for kindergarten. With Universal Transitional Kindergarten (TK), some four-year-old children may be eligible for TK.
|School Year||TK Enrollment Birthday|
|2022-2023||If a child turns five years old between September 2 and February 2, they are eligible for Transitional Kindergarten|
|2023-2024||If a child turns five years old between September 2 and April 2, they are eligible for Transitional Kindergarten|
|2024-2025||If a child turns give years old between September 2 and June 2, they are eligible for Transitional Kindergarten|
|2025-2026||If a child turns four years old before September 2, they are eligible for Transitional Kindergarten|
Some districts will be offering early admittance beyond the dates above. Be sure to check with your district of residence.
If you have children under the age of four, contact Tulare County Office of Education Childcare Resource and Referral to learn more about the child care delivery system and choosing high-quality child care.
With the expansion of Transitional Kindergarten, parents and families of four-year-olds across California are being presented with a unique range of educational options for their children.
Attending a high-quality early education program prepares children to develop critical social-emotional, cognitive, and early academic skills to be ready for kindergarten and beyond.
Finding the best option for your child takes time and research, and this section can provide a first step to learning more about the mixed-delivery system for California's four-year-olds. Remember - you know your child best!
Questions to consider:
High-Quality Early Learning
The California Department of Education (CDE) maintains an updated list of frequently asked questions on TK and UPK. To view the FAQs, click here.
TK California's blog series covers California’s Transitional Kindergarten (TK) expansion in the 2022-23 school year.
Under California’s kindergarten immunization requirements, children need immunizations prior to the first day of Transitional Kindergarten (TK), which is considered the first-year of a two-year kindergarten program.
Please visit the California Department of Public Health web page to view required immunizations for TK students.
Tulare County Office of Education
Tim A. Hire, County Superintendent of Schools
P.O. Box 5091
Visalia, CA 93278-5091