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 for the 2017-18 school year. September 1 will be the cut-off in 2017-18. 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 all schools do not need to. This year is the second year of implementation across the state.
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 elementary school and should attend preschool.
What’s the difference between Kindergarten and TK?
TK is being described 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 is focused 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.
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 parents could go to a school relatively close to home and we wanted to have schools on both the Traditional and Year Round calendars.
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 in September, October AND November this year, 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, 2012.
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 social 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. If you live in Meadow Heights’ North Central neighborhood, you are assigned to Baywood, just like the TK kids who live in Meadow Heights’ walking neighborhood. 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. However, in the case of Foster City School, almost 100% of the TK class lives in the Foster City School attendance area.
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.