Menu Close

Recent early education news and updates

In the News

Is TK effective intro into education?

February 20, 2018
Calley Cederlof
Visalia Times-Delta

Samarah Gray held her son Jayden Foley as she went over paperwork to enroll the 4-year-old in transitional kindergarten.

Jayden squirmed in his mother’s arms and wrote on a piece of paper as Gray spoke with an employee of Tulare City School District.

Jayden, who was promised ice cream if he waited for his mother to finish, is an active 4-year-old, his mother said.

“He’s super smart, he’s just super busy,” Gray said. “He needs a lot to keep him entertained.”

Expending some of his extra energy is one of the benefits the Tulare mother hopes comes from enrolling Jayden in transitional kindergarten, she said.

“He is always with adults, so I want him to have more interaction with children,” Gray said. “I want to give him a head start.”

Jayden will be one of hundreds of Valley students entering transitional kindergarten in the fall. The statewide initiative has grown in popularity.

By spring, thousands of children will enroll in transitional kindergarten and begin their educational career.

Over the next two years, students will learn the basics. But educators and parents are questioning how effective the early start is.

Working on the ‘basics’

Transitional kindergarten, part of a two-year kindergarten program, was created after California passed the Kindergarten Readiness Act in 2010.

Transitional kindergarten offers children, born between September and December, a “developmentally appropriate” curriculum taught by credentialed teachers, education officials said.

This allows parents to choose transitional kindergarten over preschool.

Keri Vagt, a transitional kindergarten teacher at Shannon Ranch Elementary School, has taught transitional kindergarten for about five years, she said.

While her students are exposed to the academic aspect of the school system, they focus more on social-emotional skills, the Visalia teacher said.

“TK gives them that extra year of confidence,” Vagt said. “They get a chance to build that love of learning.”