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Transitional Kindergarten FAQs

Frequently asked questions regarding California state law relating to kindergarten.

The California Department of Education (CDE) and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson fully support the transitional kindergarten program.

  1. What is the Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010?
  2. What is the minimum age for admittance to kindergarten in California?
  3. What is transitional kindergarten?
  4. Will transitional kindergarten continue after 2014?
  5. Must children attend transitional kindergarten or kindergarten?
  6. Is a district required to offer transitional kindergarten and kindergarten programs?
  7. Can transitional kindergarten and kindergarten students be enrolled in the same classroom?
  8. Are transitional kindergarten students required to complete the entire two year program?
  9. How many years can a district claim apportionment for transitional kindergarten and kindergarten?
  10. Can a district claim apportionment for transitional kindergarten if it does not use a modified curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate?
  11. How does transitional kindergarten affect basic aid districts?
  12. How many minutes does a transitional kindergarten program have to offer?
  13. How long is the transitional kindergarten day?
  14. Is there a Kindergarten Continuance Form to continue a child from transitional kindergarten into kindergarten?
  15. Are continuance forms necessary for those districts that choose to pilot early implementation of transitional kindergarten?
  16. Are standards available for transitional kindergarten?
  17. What is the curriculum for transitional kindergarten?
  18. How will the needs of English learners be addressed in transitional kindergarten?
  19. How will the needs of parents of English learners be addressed in transitional kindergarten?
  20. What are the William’s requirements for students in transitional kindergarten?
  21. Can students who are age eligible for kindergarten attend transitional kindergarten?
  22. What type of facility should be used for transitional kindergarten?
  23. Will transitional kindergarten enrollment generate eligibility under the State School Facility Program (changes in kindergarten enrollment have a dramatic impact on the five year enrollment projections for calculating new construction eligibility)?
  24. Will transitional kindergarten have the same statutory class size limits as regular kindergarten (33 maximum/31 average)? What about Class Size Reduction for transitional kindergarten?
  25. What is the teacher-student ratio for transitional kindergarten?
  26. Does the transitional kindergarten teacher need a teaching credential?
  27. Does the Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010 provide funding for any other staffing?
  28. Are districts required to report transitional kindergarten information via CALPADS?
  29. Does the Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010 provide funding for professional learning?
  30. Can a transitional kindergarten teacher “loop” with his/her students to kindergarten?
  31. Can the same federal funds used to fund kindergarten be used to fund transitional kindergarten (for example Title 1, Title III, EIA, etc…)?
  32. Are students in transitional kindergarten also subject to the kindergarten immunization requirements?
  33. Are students in transitional kindergarten required to meet kindergarten immunization requirements before the first year or second year of the program?
  34. How should a school report transitional kindergarten students for the kindergarten annual immunization assessment report?
  35. Can children who turn five years old after December 2 start transitional kindergarten at the beginning of the school year?
  36. Some schools are choosing to move the kindergarten admittance date back to September 1 for the 2013-14 school year, so that all children turning five between September 2 and December 2 would be automatically admitted into a transitional kindergarten program, as opposed to just children turning five between October 2 and December 2. Is this permissible?
  37. As of 2014-15, can a child who turns five between September 2 and December 2 be admitted to transitional kindergarten starting on the first day of school in August? If so, can we only claim ADA from the time the child turns five years old, or can we claim ADA in August as well?

  1. What is the Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010?
    Senate Bill (SB) 1381 (Chapter 705, Statues of 2010) amended California Education Code (EC) (Section 46300, 48000, and 48010) to change the required birthday for admission to kindergarten and first grade and established a transitional kindergarten program beginning in the 2012–2013 school year.

  2. What is the minimum age for admittance to kindergarten in California?
    A child shall be admitted to a kindergarten maintained by the school district at the beginning of a school year, or at a later time in the same year if the child will have his or her fifth birthday on or before one of the following dates (EC 48000[a]):

    • For the 2013-14 school year the date is October
    • For the 2014-15 school year and each school year thereafter the date is September 1.

  3. What is transitional kindergarten?
    A transitional kindergarten is the first year of a two-year kindergarten program that uses a modified kindergarten curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate. Pursuant to law, EC 48000[c], a child is eligible for transitional kindergarten if a child will have his or her fifth birthday between:

    • For the 2013-14 school year October 2 and December 2 (Inclusive)
    • For the 2014-15 school year and each school year thereafter September 2 and December 2. (Inclusive)
  1. Will transitional kindergarten continue after 2014?
    Yes.

  2. Must children attend transitional kindergarten or kindergarten?
    Since school is mandatory for six year old students, parents and guardians must enroll their children in school once they reach the age of six (EC Section 48200). Depending on a child's birthdate, it is a local decision (with parental input) whether the six year old student will be enrolled in kindergarten or first grade.

  3. Is a district required to offer transitional kindergarten and kindergarten programs?
    Each elementary or unified school district must offer transitional kindergarten and kindergarten classes for all children eligible to attend.

  4. Can transitional kindergarten and kindergarten students be enrolled in the same classroom?
    Although the intent of the law is to provide separate and unique experiences for transitional kindergarten and kindergarten students, districts have flexibility to determine how best to meet the curricular needs of each child.

  5. Are transitional kindergarten students required to complete the entire two year program?
    This is a local decision.

  6. How many years can a district claim apportionment for transitional kindergarten and kindergarten?
    Pursuant to law (EC 46300[g]), districts may claim apportionment for a child for not more than two years in kindergarten or two years in a combination of transitional kindergarten and kindergarten.

  7. Can a district claim apportionment for transitional kindergarten if it does not use a modified curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate?
    In order to claim apportionment for transitional kindergarten, districts must use a modified curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate. California law (EC 48000) defines transitional kindergarten as “the first year of a two-year kindergarten program that uses a modified kindergarten curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate.”

  8. How does transitional kindergarten affect basic aid districts?
    The laws apply equally to all districts, whether they receive State revenue limit funding or are basic aid.

  9. How many minutes does a transitional kindergarten program have to offer?
    The number of required instructional minutes for transitional kindergarten is 36,000 minutes per year. The minimum length of instructional time that must be offered to constitute a school day is 180 minutes. (EC sections 46117 and 46201)

  10. How long is the transitional kindergarten day?
    Pursuant to law (EC 48000), a transitional kindergarten shall not be construed as a new program or higher level of service. By statute, the maximum school day in kindergarten is four hours (EC 46110). An exception to this statute allows schools that have adopted an early primary program (extended-day kindergarten) to exceed four hours (EC 8973).

  11. Is there a Kindergarten Continuance Form to continue a child from transitional kindergarten into kindergarten?
    Children eligible to enroll in transitional kindergarten do not need a signed Kindergarten Continuance Form to continue in kindergarten.

  12.  Are continuance forms necessary for those districts that choose to pilot early implementation of transitional kindergarten?
    Children who are age-eligible to attend kindergarten but enroll in transitional kindergarten will need a signed Kindergarten Continuance Form to continue in kindergarten for one additional year.
    Kindergarten Continuance Form (English) (PDF)
    Available Translations of the Kindergarten Continuance Form

  13. Are standards available for transitional kindergarten?
    Recommended standards at all grade levels are not mandatory but voluntary. Local Education Agencies will make the decision of what standards or learning foundations are to be part of the local course of study. For guidance in creating a transitional kindergarten course, local education agencies may look at California’s Preschool Learning Foundations, California Preschool Curriculum Frameworks, California Academic Content Standards, and the Common Core State Standards for English Language Art and Mathematics.

  14. What is the curriculum for transitional kindergarten?
    California law (EC 48000) defines transitional kindergarten as “the first year of a two-year kindergarten program that uses a modified kindergarten curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate.” While no state curriculum is mandated, local education agencies must modify the local course of study in order to provide age and developmentally appropriate curriculum for transitional kindergarten.

  15. How will the needs of English learners be addressed in transitional kindergarten?
    Local educational agencies will provide a Home Language Survey to be completed by the parent or guardian which will aid the school in determining whether or not the student should be administered the California English Language Development Test (CELDT). Students who are English learners in a transitional kindergarten will have the same level of services as those in kindergarten.

  16. How will the needs of parents of English learners be addressed in transitional kindergarten?
    California law (EC 48985) requires that “all notices, reports, statements, or records sent to the parent or guardian of any such pupil by the school or school district shall, in addition to being written in English, be written in the primary language, and maybe responded to either in English or the primary language.” This applies to parents of English learners in transitional kindergarten.

  17. What are the William’s requirements for students in transitional kindergarten?
    While instructional materials must be provided to all pupils, the governing board of a school district determines standards-aligned instructional materials and how those materials are to be modified and age-appropriate for transitional kindergarten. EC 60119 states "’sufficient textbooks or instructional materials’ means that each pupil, including English learners, has a standards-aligned textbook, instructional materials, or both, to use in class and to take home. This paragraph does not require two sets of textbooks or instructional materials for each pupil. The materials may be in a digital format as long as each pupil, at a minimum, has and can access the same materials in the class and to take home, as all other pupils in the same class or course in the district and has the ability to use and access them at home.”

  18. Can students who are age eligible for kindergarten attend transitional kindergarten?
    Although this is a local decision, CDE recommends that districts establish criteria to determine selection requirements for kindergarten eligible children who enroll in transitional kindergarten. Children who are age-eligible to attend kindergarten, but choose to enroll in transitional kindergarten will need a signed Kindergarten Continuance Form verifying that the parent/guardian agrees to have his/her child  continue in kindergarten for one additional year. A sample form, in English and other languages, is available.

    Kindergarten Continuance Form (English) (PDF)
    Available Translations of the Kindergarten Continuance Form

    The Kindergarten Continuance Form is used by school districts to verify that parents agree to have their child continue in kindergarten for one additional year.

  19. What type of facility should be used for transitional kindergarten?
    Facility requirements will be the same as they presently are for kindergarten.

  20. Will transitional kindergarten enrollment generate eligibility under the State School Facility Program (changes in kindergarten enrollment have a dramatic impact on the five year enrollment projections for calculating new construction eligibility)?
    Eligibility for this program should remain unchanged because transitional kindergarten ADA would be included in the kindergarten ADA that is currently used to calculate eligibility.

  21. Will transitional kindergarten have the same statutory class size limits as regular kindergarten (33 maximum/31 average)? What about Class Size Reduction for transitional kindergarten?
    The same requirements that apply to kindergarten also apply to transitional kindergarten.

  22. What is the teacher-student ratio for transitional kindergarten?
    This is a local district decision and will most likely be impacted by budget and contract agreements.

  23. Does the transitional kindergarten teacher need a teaching credential?
    The teacher must be properly credentialed as is currently required of kindergarten teachers.

  24. Does the Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010 provide funding for any other staffing?
    No, although other available funding may be used.

  25. Are districts required to report transitional kindergarten information via CALPADS?
    Yes. Student participation in a transitional kindergarten program must be reported via CALPADS. Districts are required to obtain statewide student identifiers for all kindergarten students, including transitional kindergarten students. Students participating in a transitional kindergarten program are enrolled in CALPADS with a grade level of Kindergarten. The CALPADS Education Program Code for transitional kindergarten is 185, which indicates participation in a transitional kindergarten program. This code is required for the 2013–14 school year and beyond. For further information: LEAs and users with CALPADS-related questions should consult relevant CALPADS documentation on the CALPADS System Documentation Web page.

  26. Does the Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010 provide funding for professional learning?
    No, although other available funding may be used.

  27. Can a transitional kindergarten teacher “loop” with his/her students to kindergarten?
    The decision to “loop” a teacher with their students from the transitional kindergarten to the kindergarten year would be a local decision.

  28. Can the same federal funds used to fund kindergarten be used to fund transitional kindergarten (for example Title 1, Title III, EIA, etc.)?
    Yes. The same funds and compliance requirements associated with the use of the funds apply.

  29. Are students in transitional kindergarten also subject to the kindergarten immunization requirements?
    Yes. They are required to have documentation of required immunizations or a valid exemption prior to admission to transitional kindergarten.

  30. Are students in transitional kindergarten required to meet kindergarten immunization requirements before the first year or second year of the program?
    They are required to have immunizations before admission to transitional kindergarten and will be required to provide proof of immunizations during kindergarten registration.

  31. How should a school report transitional kindergarten students for the kindergarten annual immunization assessment report?
    For each year, a student is attending transitional or traditional kindergarten, the school will report on his or her immunization status. On the reporting form, there will be no differentiation between transitional or traditional kindergarten students. Reporting opens in September 2012 at the California Department of Health, Shots for School External link opens in new window or tab. page.


  32. Can children who turn five years old after December 2 start transitional kindergarten at the beginning of the school year?
    No. Pursuant to law, (EC 48000[c]), a child is eligible for transitional kindergarten if a child will have his or her fifth birthday between:


    • For the 2013-14 school year October 2 and December 2
    • For the 2014-15 school year and each school year thereafter September 2 and December 2.

    The law also provides for local school districts to enroll children in TK or kindergarten on or after their fifth birthday, on a case by case basis:

    EC 48000(b), "The governing board of a school district maintaining one or more kindergartens may, on a case-by-case basis, admit to a kindergarten a child having attained the age of five years at any time during the school year with the approval of the parent or guardian, subject to the following conditions:

    (1) The governing board determines that the admittance is in the best interests of the child.

    (2) The parent or guardian is given information regarding the advantages and disadvantages and any other explanatory information about the effect of this early admittance."

  33. Some schools are choosing to move the kindergarten admittance date back to September 1 for the 2013-14 school year, so that all children turning five between September 2 and December 2 would be automatically admitted into a transitional kindergarten program, as opposed to just children turning five between October 2 and December 2. Is this permissible?
    While a district may choose to accelerate implementation of the kindergarten admission phase-in dates by enrolling all children who will turn five between September 2 and December 2 in 2013-14 into a transitional kindergarten program, if a parent requests that his or her kindergarten-eligible child (a child who will turn five between September 1 and October 1 inclusive) be admitted to kindergarten instead of transitional kindergarten, the school district must honor that request.

    On the other hand, if a child is kindergarten-eligible but the decision is made to place that child into transitional kindergarten, then the district must ensure that the Kindergarten Continuance Form is signed before the student can continue into kindergarten the following year.

  34. As of 2014-15, can a child who turns five between September 2 and December 2 be admitted to transitional kindergarten starting on the first day of school in August? If so, can we only claim ADA from the time the child turns five years old, or can we claim ADA in August as well?
    For purposes of the P-1 report, the TK ADA should be combined with the regular Kindergarten ADA on the Kindergarten line(s). The TK ADA should also be reported on Line C-3, for informational purposes, for school districts, and A-0 for charter schools. If the schools districts and charter schools are unable to properly report the data for C-3 or A-0 at P-1 they can report it properly at P-2.

    ADA can be claimed for TK students from the first day of the school year as long as the TK students turn five by December 2. If a school district chooses to admit five year old TK students after December 2, then ADA will start for the “late start” students on the day of their admittance.

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Questions: Kathleen Halvorson | KHalvorson@cde.ca.gov | 916-323-4629 
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