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Universal Prekindergarten FAQs

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding California state law relating to Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) and Transitional Kindergarten (TK).

The California Department of Education (CDE) and State Superintendent of Public Instruction fully support the Universal PreKindergarten (UPK) and Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program.

For parents or caregivers looking for information about UPK and TK in California, please visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on California Educators TogetherExternal link opens in new window or tab. instead. This page is geared toward local educational agencies implementing UPK and TK.

NOTE: The CDE is working to integrate earlier TK FAQs into the broader UPK FAQs. (Additional information coming soon)

UPK FAQs

Additional FAQs regarding the fiscal requirements and the related penalties for TK are available on the CDE's Transitional Kindergarten web page.

UPK Grants Funding Logistics
UPK Mixed Delivery System
UPK Workforce
TK Admission and Enrollment
TK Class Size and Ratio
TK Curriculum and Assessment
TK Early Enrollment
TK Funding and Reporting Information
TK Instructional Time
TK Program Information

Related Resources

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UPK Grants Funding Logistics

  1. What is the UPK Planning and Implementation Grant? (Updated 06-Jun-2023)

    California Education Code (EC) Section 8281.5, created the UPK Planning and Implementation (P&I) Grant Program, which provides a total of $500 million to support planning and implementation around access to PreKindergarten programs. This grant is allocated in two parts over two fiscal years, 2021-22 and 2022-23:

    • 2021–22 UPK P&I Grant ($200 million)
      • The UPK P&I Grant for local educational agencies (LEAs) (school districts and charter schools) was based on a formula specified in EC 8281.5(c)(1)(A) and (C). The link to this funding allocation page can be found at Universal Prekindergarten Planning & Implementation Grant.
        • These funds may be used for costs associated with creating or expanding California State Preschool Programs (CSPP) or Transitional Kindergarten (TK) programs, or to establish or strengthen partnerships with other providers of prekindergarten education within the local educational agency (LEA), including Head Start programs, to ensure that high-quality prekindergarten options are available for four-year-old children. Allowable costs include, but are not necessarily limited to, planning costs, hiring and recruitment costs, staff training and professional development, classroom materials, and supplies.
        • LEAs receiving these grant funds are required to:
          • Develop a plan articulating how all children in their attendance area w have access to full-day learning programs the year before kindergarten that meet the needs of parents, including through partnerships with the LEA’s expanded learning offerings, the After-School Education and Safety Program, CSPP, Head Start programs, and other community-based early learning programs. This plan needed to be submitted for consideration by their governing board or body at a public meeting on or before June 30, 2022.
          • Submit program data annually to the CDE through the UPK Program Report.
          • Submit expenditure data twice a year to the CDE through the UPK Expenditure Report.
      • The UPK P&I Grant also funds countywide planning and capacity building for county offices of education (COEs) with a minimum base grant of $15,000 for each LEA in the county that operates kindergarten programs as specified in EC 8281.5(c)(1)(B). The link to this funding allocation page can be found at UPK Planning & Implementation - Countywide Planning and Capacity Grant.
        • These funds may be used for costs associated with providing countywide planning and capacity building to help LEAs in their county create or expand CSPP or TK programs, or to establish or strengthen partnerships with other providers of PreKindergarten education within the county, including Head Start programs, to ensure that high-quality options are available for four-year-old children countywide. Allowable costs include, but are not necessarily limited to, planning costs, hiring and recruitment costs, staff training and professional development, classroom materials, and supplies.
        • County offices of education (COEs) receiving these grant funds are required to:
          • Develop and present a plan that describes how the COE is providing support for countywide planning and capacity building efforts for UPK planning and implementation (EC Section 8281.5). This plan needed to be submitted for consideration by their governing board or body at a public meeting on or before June 30, 2022.
          • Submit program data annually to the CDE through the UPK Program Report.
          • Submit expenditure data twice a year to the CDE through the UPK Expenditure Report.
    • 2022–23 UPK P&I Grant ($300 million)
      • 2022–23 UPK P&I Grant for local educational agencies (LEAs) (school districts and charter schools) is based on a formula specified in EC Section 8281.5(d)(1)(A) and (C). Funding information can be found at the California Department of Education web page for funding results found at this link: Funding Results: 2022-23 Universal PreKindergarten Planning & Implementation Grant
        • Grant funds may be used in the same ways as the 2021–22 UPK P&I Grant, however with one significant addition. Classroom operating costs are now an allowable expense. As a result of this addition, LEAs may use their grant funds to cover costs they may have incurred with expanding TK age eligibility faster than required by law and to cover the costs of early admittance transitional kindergarten (ETK)-enrolled students who are not otherwise generating average daily attendance (ADA).
        • LEAs receiving these grant funds are required to:
          • Submit program data annually to the CDE through the UPK Program Report.
          • Submit expenditure data twice a year to the CDE through the UPK Expenditure Report.
          • Ensure expenditures are consistent with their local plan.
          • Plan with their county’s local tribes, and CSPP and Head Start program providers in their region.
          • Plan with their county’s local planning council, which should include coordination with the UPK Mixed Delivery Grant.
          • Offer TK to all eligible pupils interested in TK within their attendance area by the 2025–26 school year.
          • Please note: LEAs that did not develop the plan required for the 2021–22 UPK P&I Grant are required to develop a plan for how all children in the attendance area of the LEA will have access to full-day learning programs the year before kindergarten that meet the needs of parents, including through partnerships with the LEA’s expanded learning offerings, the After School Education and Safety Program, the CSPP, Head Start programs, and other community-based early learning and care programs. This plan should have been presented for consideration by the governing board or body at a public meeting on or before March 30, 2023.
      • The 2022–23 UPK P&I Grant also funds countywide planning and capacity building for county offices of education (COEs) with a minimum base grant of $15,000 for each LEA in the county that operates kindergarten programs as specified in EC 8281.5(d)(1)(B). The link to this funding allocation page can be found at the CDE 2022-23 UPK P&I Funding Results web page at: 2022-23 UPK P&I Funding Results
        • Grant funds may be used in the same ways as the 2021–22 UPK P&I – Countywide Planning and Capacity Building Grant, however with one significant addition. Classroom operating costs are now an allowable expense. Allowable costs shall include, but are not necessarily limited to, classroom operating costs, planning costs, hiring and recruitment costs, staff training and professional development, classroom materials, and supplies.
        • COEs receiving these grant funds are required to:
          • Submit program data annually to the CDE through the UPK Program Report.
          • Submit expenditure data twice a year to the CDE through the UPK Expenditure Report.
          • Ensure expenditures are consistent with their local plan.
          • Plan with their county’s local tribes, and CSPP and Head Start program providers in their region.
          • Plan with their county’s local planning council, which should include coordination with the UPK Mixed Delivery Grant.
          • Offer TK to all eligible pupils interested in TK within their attendance area by the 2025–26 school year, as applicable.
  2. What funding is available to expand the teacher workforce? (Updated 06-Jun-2023)

    California has invested a substantial amount of funding to support the recruitment and retention of teachers overall, but in particular for Universal PreKindergarten (UPK) teachers. Below, are listed a few of the funding opportunities to expand the UPK workforce. More information can be found in the UPK Teacher Pipeline Resource Compendium - Preschool Through Third Grade Alignment.

    • The UPK Planning & Implementation (P&I) Grant provides a total of $500 million in one-time funding to local educational agencies (LEAs) for planning and implementation related to UPK expansion.
    • The Golden State Teacher Grant Program, administered by the California Student Aid Commission, is an ongoing grant with $100 million in funding per fiscal year between 2021 and 2026 which provides up to $20,000 in individual grants to students in Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC)-approved professional preparation programs who commit to working in high-needs fields such as transitional kindergarten (TK) at a priority school for four years after receiving their credential.
    • The Early Education Teacher Development grant allocated $100 million to LEAs to ensure there are enough qualified teachers in the UPK system as it expands. The main purpose of this funding is to increase the number of highly qualified TK and California State Preschool Program (CSPP) teachers as well as increase specific competencies for TK, CSPP and kindergarten teachers.This grant program is no longer accepting applications.
    • The Teacher Residency Grant Program, administered by the CTC, provides a total of $350 million from 2021 to 2023 in ongoing funding for LEAs to develop or expand and improve teacher residency programs that support designated shortage fields such as TK and local efforts for recruitment and retention of a diverse teacher workforce that reflects an LEA community’s diversity.
    • The CTC has administered $20 million in one-time grants to regionally accredited institutions of higher education for four-year integrated teacher preparation programs, including student teaching, and/or to adapt an existing Commission-approved five-year integrated teacher preparation program to a four-year program. These grants support programs that produce teachers in the designated shortage fields including transitional kindergarten, or kindergarten, and/or that partner with a California community college to create an integrated program of professional preparation.

    Information for these and other funding opportunities are described in the UPK Teacher Pipeline Resource Compendium - Preschool Through Third Grade Alignment

  3. What is required to receive the UPK Planning and Implementation Grant funding? (Updated 06-Jun-2023)
    • 2021-22 UPK P&I Grant
      • For more information about this grant, please visit this link: Education Code 8281.5 External link opens in new window or tab.
      • The 2021–22 California State Budget provided a formula to determine funding allocations for the UPK Planning and Implementation grant. Specifically, the CDE was required to allocate two hundred million dollars ($200,000,000) in the 2021–22 fiscal year (FY) to local educational agencies (LEAs) as follows:
        • A minimum base grant to all local educational agencies that operate kindergarten programs as determined using California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System Fall 1 kindergarten enrollment from the 2020–21 certification, as follows:
          • For LEAs with an enrollment of 1 to 23 pupils, inclusive, the minimum base grant shall be twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).
          • For LEAs with an enrollment of 24 to 99 pupils, inclusive, the minimum base grant shall be fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).
          • For LEAs with an enrollment of 100 or more pupils, the minimum base grant shall be one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).
        • A minimum base grant for each county office of education (COE) of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) for each local educational agency in their county that operates kindergarten programs to support countywide planning and capacity building.
      • Of the remaining funds after allocations:
        • Sixty percent was available as enrollment grants. These grants were allocated based on the local educational agency’s proportional share of total California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System Fall 1 kindergarten enrollment for the 2019–20 FY, as applied to the total amount of program funds available for the enrollment grant. For purposes of this clause, the total statewide kindergarten enrollment shall be calculated using the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System Fall 1 kindergarten enrollment minus the transitional kindergarten program enrollment for the 2019–20 FY for each LEA.
        • Forty percent was available as supplemental grants. These grants were allocated based on the LEAs California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System Fall 1 kindergarten enrollment minus the transitional kindergarten program enrollment for the 2019–20 FY, multiplied by the LEAs unduplicated pupil percentage, as calculated pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 42238.02 or subdivision (b) of Section 2574 certified as of the second principal apportionment. Funds for this purpose were distributed percent-to-total from funds available for the supplemental grant.
      • The UPK P&I Grant was allocated through an apportionment process. EC 8281.5(c)(3)(B) requires that LEAs receiving these grant funds to:
        • Develop a plan articulating how all children in their attendance area will have access to full-day learning programs the year before kindergarten that meet the needs of parents, including through partnerships with the LEA’s expanded learning offerings, the After-School Education and Safety Program, CSPP, Head Start programs, and other community-based early learning programs. This plan needed to be submitted for consideration by their governing board or body at a public meeting on or before June 30, 2022.
        • Submit program data annually to the CDE through the UPK Program Report.
        • Submit expenditure data twice a year to the CDE through the UPK Expenditure Report.

    • 2022–23 UPK P&I Grant
      • For more information about this grant, please visit this link: Education Code 8281.5 External link opens in new window or tab.
      • The 2022–23 California State Budget provided a formula to determine funding allocations for the 2022–23 UPK Planning & Implementation grant. Specifically, the CDE is required to allocate three hundred million dollars ($300,000,000) in the 2022–23 fiscal year (FY) to local educational agencies (LEAs) as follows:
        • A minimum base grant to all local educational agencies that operate kindergarten programs, as determined using California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System Fall 1 kindergarten enrollment from the 2021–22 certification, as follows:
          • For local educational agencies with an enrollment of 1 to 500 pupils, inclusive, the minimum base grant shall be twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).
          • For local educational agencies with an enrollment of 501 or more pupils, the minimum base grant shall be fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).
        • A minimum base grant for each county office of education of fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) for each local educational agency in their county that operates kindergarten programs to support countywide planning and capacity building.
        • Of the funds remaining after the allocations above:
          • Sixty percent shall be available as enrollment grants. These grants shall be allocated based on the local educational agency’s proportional share of total California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System Fall 1 kindergarten enrollment for the 2021–22 fiscal year, as applied to the total amount of program funds available for the enrollment grant. For purposes of this clause, the total statewide kindergarten enrollment shall be calculated using the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System Fall 1 kindergarten enrollment minus the transitional kindergarten program enrollment for the 2020–21 fiscal year for each local educational agency.
          • Forty percent shall be available as supplemental grants. These grants shall be allocated based on the local educational agency’s California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System Fall 1 kindergarten enrollment minus the transitional kindergarten program enrollment for the 2020–21 fiscal year, multiplied by the local educational agency’s unduplicated pupil percentage, as calculated pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 42238.02 or subdivision (b) of Section 2574, as applicable, and certified as of the second principal apportionment. Funds for this purpose shall be distributed percent-to-total from funds available for the supplemental grant.
        • Notwithstanding any other law, any kindergarten enrollment reported by a county office of education shall be attributed to the school district of geographic residence.
      • The UPK P&I Grant was allocated through an apportionment process. EC 8281.5(d)(3) requires each school district and charter school receiving these funds to:
        • Submit program data annually to the CDE through the UPK Program Report.
        • Submit expenditure data twice a year to the CDE through the UPK Expenditure Report.
        • Ensure expenditures are consistent with their local plan.
        • Plan with their county’s local tribes, and CSPP and Head Start program providers in their region.
        • Plan with their county’s local planning council, which should include coordination with the UPK Mixed Delivery Grant.
        • Offer TK to all eligible pupils interested in TK within their attendance area by the 2025–26 school year.
        • Please note: LEAs that did not develop the plan required for the 2021–22 UPK P&I Grant, are required to develop a plan for how all children in the attendance area of the LEA will have access to full-day learning programs the year before kindergarten that meet the needs of parents, including through partnerships with the LEA’s expanded learning offerings, the After School Education and Safety Program, the CSPP, Head Start programs, and other community-based early learning and care programs. This plan should have been presented for consideration by the governing board or body at a public meeting by March 30, 2023.
      • County offices of education (COEs) receiving these funds are required to:
        • Submit program data annually to the CDE through the UPK Program Report.
        • Submit expenditure data twice a year to the CDE through the UPK Expenditure Report.
        • Ensure expenditures are consistent with their local plan.
        • Plan with their county’s local tribes, and CSPP and Head Start program providers in their region.
        • Plan with their county’s local planning council, which should include coordination with the UPK Mixed Delivery Grant.
        • Offer TK to all eligible pupils interested in TK within their attendance area by the 2025–26 school year, as applicable.
  4. Does the UPK Planning Template need to be submitted to the CDE? (Updated 06-Jun-2023)
    • While the plan itself does not need to be submitted to the CDE, certain elements of the UPK Template will be required to be submitted to the CDE. LEAs that did not develop the plan required for the 2021–22 UPK P&I Grant, are required to develop a plan for how all children in the attendance area of the LEA will have access to full-day learning programs the year before kindergarten that meet the needs of parents, including through partnerships with the LEA’s expanded learning offerings, the After School Education and Safety Program, the CSPP, Head Start programs, and other community-based early learning and care programs. This plan should have been presented for consideration by the governing board or body at a public meeting by March 30, 2023.

      • School districts and charter schools
          • The CDE will be collecting information on the answers to the required questions after July 30, 2023 through the UPK Program Report. This will allow the CDE to learn about how LEAs are planning and implementing UPK and to identify what additional support may be needed to help LEAs as they move along the implementation process.
          • The questions required for submission to the CDE should be answered based on what the LEA has implemented for 2022–23 and beyond. The CDE encourages LEAs to look beyond the first year of implementation and lay the foundation for the full implementation period. The CDE also encourages LEAs to look to their Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAPs) to identify where their LCAPs already include relevant opportunities for alignment, and to consider the results of the UPK planning and implementation efforts as it pertains to future updates to their LCAPs.
        • To help introduce LEA leaders to early education concepts, agencies, and structures. CDE has developed Universal PreKindergarten Planning and Implementation Guidance documents. This guidance is meant to support LEAs in the development and implementation of their Universal PreKindergarten (UPK) Plan.
      • County Offices of Education (COEs)
          • The CDE will be collecting information on the answers to the COE required questions after July 30, 2023 through the UPK Program Report. This will allow the CDE to learn about how COEs are supporting LEAs as they move through the planning and implementation process.
          • The questions required for submission to the CDE should be answered based on how the COE has supported and plans to support LEAs for 2022–23 and beyond.
      • Please follow the links below to access the updated UPK Templates:
  5. How much funding will my agency get for the UPK Planning and Implementation Grant? (Updated 06-Jun-2023)
    • 2021–22 UPK P&I Grant
      • The link to the estimated funding results for school districts and charter schools is located at the following link: Funding Results: Universal Prekindergarten Planning & Implementation Grant.
      • The link to the estimated funding results for county offices of education is located at the following link: Funding Results: UPK Planning & Implementation-Countywide Planning and Capacity Building Grant.
      • The 2021-2022 California state budget included a minimum base grant to all local education agencies (LEAs) that operate Kindergarten programs determined using the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System Fall 1 Kindergarten enrollment from the 2020–21 certification. Per Education Code (EC) Section 8281.5 (c)(1)(A):
        • For LEAs with an enrollment of 1 to 23 pupils, inclusive, the minimum base grant shall be twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).
        • For LEAs with an enrollment of 24 to 99 pupils, inclusive, the minimum base grant shall be fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).
        • For LEAs with an enrollment of 100 or more pupils, the minimum base grant shall be one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000).
      • The budget also included a minimum base grant of $15,000 to each county office of education for each LEA in the county that received the UPK P&I grant funding to support countywide planning and capacity building. The UPK P&I Grant funding was allocated via apportionment.
        • Of the remaining funds after the above allocations:
          • Sixty percent was available as enrollment grants. These grants were allocated based on the local educational agency’s proportional share of total California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System Fall 1 kindergarten enrollment for the 2019–20 FY, as applied to the total amount of program funds available for the enrollment grant. For purposes of this clause, the total statewide kindergarten enrollment shall be calculated using the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System Fall 1 kindergarten enrollment minus the transitional kindergarten program enrollment for the 2019–20 FY for each LEA.
          • Forty percent was available as supplemental grants. These grants were allocated based on the LEA’s California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System Fall 1 kindergarten enrollment minus the transitional kindergarten program enrollment for the 2019–20 FY, multiplied by the LEAs unduplicated pupil percentage, as calculated pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 42238.02 or subdivision (b) of Section 2574 certified as of the second principal apportionment. Funds for this purpose were distributed percent-to-total from funds available for the supplemental grant.
      • The UPK P&I Grant was allocated through an apportionment process.
    • 2022–23 UPK P&I Grant
      • The link to the estimated funding results for school districts and charter schools is located at the following link: Funding Results: 2022-23 Universal PreKindergarten Planning & Implementation Grant
      • The estimated funding results for county offices of education is located at the following link: Funding Results: 2022-23 UPK Planning & Implementation-Countywide Planning and Capacity Building
      • The 2022–23 California state budget includes a minimum base grant to all local educational agencies that operate kindergarten programs, as determined using California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System Fall 1 kindergarten enrollment from the 2021–22 certification. Per Education Code (EC) Section 8281.5 (d)(1)(A):
        • For local educational agencies with an enrollment of 1 to 500 pupils, inclusive, the minimum base grant shall be twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000).
        • For local educational agencies with an enrollment of 501 or more pupils, the minimum base grant shall be fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).
      • The budget also includes a minimum base grant of $15,000 to each county office of education for each LEA in the county receiving the UPK P&I grant funding to support countywide planning and capacity building.
      • Of the funds remaining after the allocations:
        • Sixty percent shall be available as enrollment grants. These grants shall be allocated based on the local educational agency’s proportional share of total California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System Fall 1 kindergarten enrollment for the 2021–22 fiscal year, as applied to the total amount of program funds available for the enrollment grant. For purposes of this clause, the total statewide kindergarten enrollment shall be calculated using the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System Fall 1 kindergarten enrollment minus the transitional kindergarten program enrollment for the 2020–21 fiscal year for each local educational agency.
        • Forty percent shall be available as supplemental grants. These grants shall be allocated based on the local educational agency’s California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System Fall 1 kindergarten enrollment minus the transitional kindergarten program enrollment for the 2020–21 fiscal year, multiplied by the local educational agency’s unduplicated pupil percentage, as calculated pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 42238.02 or subdivision (b) of Section 2574, as applicable, and certified as of the second principal apportionment. Funds for this purpose shall be distributed percent-to-total from funds available for the supplemental grant.
      • The UPK P&I Grant funding will be allocated via apportionment.
    • Please direct any questions regarding this grant to: UPKPlanningGrant@cde.ca.gov
  6. Are non-classroom-based charters eligible for UPK planning and implementation grant (P&I) funding? (Updated 06-Jun-2023)
    • Yes. Although the intent of the $500,000,000 in Universal PreKindergarten (UPK) Planning & Implementation (P&I) funds is to expand access to classroom-based PreKindergarten (pre-K) programs, the legislation does not exclude non-classroom-based charter schools from funding. To the extent that a non-classroom- based charter does have Kindergarten enrollment that meets the statutory requirements set forth in Education Code (EC) 8281.5, they would receive UPK P&I Grant funding in order to expand or start providing access to pre-K programs.
    • Any non-classroom-based charter schools that receive funding for UPK P&I grants must use the money to provide all children in the attendance area of the local educational agency with access to full-day learning programs the year before kindergarten that meet the needs of parents, including through partnerships with the local educational agency’s expanded learning offerings, the After School Education and Safety Program, the California state preschool program, Head Start programs, and other community-based early learning and care programs.
  7. Do non-classroom based charter schools need to create a plan for UPK? (Updated 06-Jun-2023)

    With the adoption of Universal PreKindergarten (UPK), any charter schools, including non-classroom based charter schools, that receive funding for UPK Planning & Implementation (P&I) grants must use the money to develop a plan articulating how all children in the attendance area of the local educational agency will have  access to full-day learning programs the year before kindergarten that meet the needs of parents, including through partnerships with the local educational agency’s expanded learning offerings, the After School Education and Safety Program, the California state preschool program, Head Start programs, and other community-based early learning and care programs.

  8. Must charter schools return Universal PreKindergarten Planning & Implementation funds allocated pursuant to Education Code (EC) 8281.5 if they do not offer transitional kindergarten? (Posted 06-Jun-2023)

    If charter schools are doing any one of the following, they are required to return that fiscal year’s UPK Planning & Implementation funds:

    • 2021–22 UPK P&I:
      • Not creating a plan for Universal PreKindergarten implementation
      • Not meeting the reporting requirements
    • 2022–23 UPK P&I:
      • Not offering TK
      • Not creating a plan for Universal PreKindergarten implementation (either this year or the prior year)
      • Not meeting the reporting requirements
      • Not ensuring expenditures are consistent with their local plan
      • Not planning with their county’s local planning council, which should include coordination with the UPK Mixed Delivery Grant
      • Not planning with their county’s local tribes, and the California state preschool program and Head Start program providers in their region
  9. What is the process for charter schools to return Universal PreKindergarten (UPK) Planning & Implementation funds? (Updated 06-Jun-2023)

    Charter schools must notify the California Department of Education of their intent to return Universal PreKindergarten (UPK) Planning and Implementation Grant funds by sending an email to the CDE at UPKPlanningGrant@cde.ca.gov and advising of this intent.

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UPK Mixed Delivery System

  1. What is UPK and how is it related to Universal Transitional Kindergarten (UTK)? (Updated 27-May-2022)
    • UPK is an umbrella term that includes the California State Preschool Program (CSPP), TK at the California Department of Education, as well as 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.
    • While participation in UPK and choice of which program is optional, TK is the only option within the broader UPK frame that will be universally available, and free of cost, for all four-year old children as part of California’s public education system.
    • California’s goal is to serve more children ages 3-to 4-years-old, statewide, in high-quality preschool programs. California intends to meet this goal through the implementation of universally available TK, as well as investments in other state-funded programs, such as funding to expand the CSPP and other state-subsidized programs that offer a preschool learning experience.
    • In 2021, legislation was passed that requires any local educational agency (LEA) operating a Kindergarten to also provide a TK program for all 4-year-old children by 2025–26. UTK means that by 2025–26, regardless of background, race, zip code, immigration status, or income level, every child will have access to TK as a quality learning experience the year before Kindergarten.
  2. How are Transitional Kindergarten (TK) programs different than preschool or other child development programs offered by local education agencies (LEAs) for three- and four-year-old children? (Updated 27-May-2022)

    TK is part of the K-12 public school system and is the first year of a two-year kindergarten program that uses a modified kindergarten curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate.

    Pursuant to Education Code (EC) Section 48000(f), TK programs are intended to be aligned to the California Preschool Learning Foundations developed by the California Department of Education. TK is not considered a preschool program and must be taught by an educator who holds an appropriate credential to teach TK. For a full listing of credentials that are allowed to teach TK, please visit the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing.

    EC Section 48000(g) requires credentialed teachers who are first assigned to a TK classroom after July 1, 2015 to have one of the following by August 1, 2023:

    • At least 24 units in early childhood education, or childhood development, or both
    • Professional experience in a classroom setting with preschool age children comparable to the 24 units of education described in bullet 1 (comparability determined by the local employing agency)
    • Child Development Teacher Permit issued by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Permit options: Child Development Teacher Permit, Child Development Master Teacher Permit, Child Development Site Supervisor Permit, or the Child Development Program Director Permit

    Any teacher who is or was assigned to teach TK, or a combination of kindergarten and TK, on or before July 1, 2015, is "grandfathered in" to teach TK without having to meet the additional unit requirement for TK teachers set forth in EC section 48000(g).

    • Preschool or other child development programs, offered by local educational agencies (LEAs) to prepare 3- and 4-year-old children for school, are not required to be taught by persons meeting teacher credential requirements. Instead, they must meet separate child development permit requirements.
    • LEAs should ensure that parents understand the difference between various locally implemented preschool programs intended to support Kindergarten readiness and the transition to Kindergarten from the TK program delineated in statute.
  3. What role does the California State Preschool Program (CSPP) have in UPK? (Updated 14-Jun-2022)
    • As Transitional Kindergarten (TK) will be fully funded by 2025–26 to provide access to early education for all children whose fourth birthday occurs by the first of September of the year they are enrolled, California State Preschool Programs (CSPPs) may have increased room in their contracts to expand the enrollment of three-year-old children so more children have access to two years of high-quality early education before kindergarten. Based on 2019–20 data, only 13 percent of three-year-old children eligible for CSPP were enrolled. Universal PreKindergarten (UPK) presents the opportunity to provide so many more children with early education opportunities.
      • CSPPs may also have opportunities to provide expanded learning and extended care opportunities (before-school, after-school and summer session) to children enrolled in TK and Kindergarten to address the needs of families while also providing extended learning opportunities.
  4. Do families of 4-year-old children have a choice between California State Preschool Program (CSPP) and transitional kindergarten (TK)? (Posted 30-Mar-2023)

    Yes, families do have a choice. Parents of 4-year-old children may choose to enroll their child in any available TK program, CSPP, Head Start, private preschool or any other prekindergarten program for which the family is eligible. TK is not mandatory for children; however, it is the only option that will be universally available and free of cost for all families with children who turn four-years-old by September 1st starting in the 2025–26 school year.

  5. What prekindergarten programs may parents choose from? (Updated 19-Oct-2022)
    Transitional kindergarten (TK) is a universally accessible and free program for age-eligible four-year-old children (to be available at no-cost to all four-year-old children by the 2025-26 school year) and parents may choose to enroll their children in a TK program or any other prekindergarten program for which the family is eligible including, but not limited to, the California State Preschool Program (CSPP), Head Start, in addition to subsidized programs administered by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS). TK is not mandatory for children. Families who choose to enroll their children in TK remain eligible for subsidized early learning and care programs, including, but not limited to part-day CSPP, and will be able to choose to send their child to those programs, space permitting, as long as the hours of operation do not overlap with the hours of TK. Families may also continue to choose to enroll their children in private preschool or prekindergarten programs or keep their children at home until the age of six, when compulsory education begins.
  6. Will there be a mixed delivery so private preschools can continue to be part of educating our young children and giving parents choices?
    • Universal prekindergarten (UPK) is a mixed delivery system that also includes the California State Preschool Program (CSPP) which the California Department of Education (CDE) operates, along with other prekindergarten programs serving three- and four-year-old children, including the federal Head Start Program, subsidized programs that operate a preschool learning experience and are operated by community-based organizations (CBOs)--including family childcare--, and private preschool.
  7. A district with a very robust preschool program would like to provide their four-year-old children with Universal Transitional Kindergarten (UTK) through their preschool program. Would this be permissible?
    • Districts are required to offer transitional kindergarten (TK) to all children that are eligible (based on the year of universal transitional kindergarten [UTK] phase-in implementation) and wish to enroll. However, families are also allowed to choose other prekindergarten options, such as California State Preschool Program (CSPP) or Head Start, if they are eligible for those programs. If, for example, parents continue to choose the local educational agency's (LEA’s) existing preschool programs instead of TK, the district TK enrollment may end up being relatively small.
    • As part of LEA’s universal prekindergarten (UPK) plan due to their governing board or body by June 30, 2022, the LEA should conduct outreach to parents with children who will be eligible for UTK to determine whether they will want to enroll in UTK or in another preschool option. By better understanding parent needs, the LEA can plan how to meet the requirements around providing TK to all eligible children who are interested and also leveraging the benefits of their existing robust preschool programs.
    • Additionally, any children enrolled in TK can also receive extended learning and care through the district’s existing CSPP program or Head Start, if eligible, or through other extended learning programs.
  8. Can parents choose to enroll their transitional kindergarten (TK) eligible child into the California State Preschool Program (CSPP) instead of transitional kindergarten (TK)? (Updated 14-Jun-2022)
    • Transitional kindergarten (TK), like kindergarten enrollment, is not compulsory. Parents will continue to have the choice to remain at their current program provided that they meet eligibility requirements. The 2021–22 California State Budget explicitly retained choice for parents whose children are enrolled in the California State Preschool Program (CSPP).
  9. Can a district’s Afterschool Program credit attendance in the Afterschool Program for students who start school at the beginning of the year and who turn five years of age after the applicable Transitional Kindergarten (TK) eligibility cut-off date? (Updated 26-Sep-2022)

    Yes, a district’s Afterschool Program can credit attendance in the Afterschool Program for students who start school at the beginning of the year and who turn five years of age after the applicable TK eligibility cut-off date (listed below).

    • In 2022–23, children are eligible for TK if they turn 5 years old between September 2 and February 2*,
    • In 2023–24, children are eligible for TK if they turn 5 years old between September 2 and April 2*,
    • In 2024–25, children are eligible for TK if they turn 5 years old between September 2 and June 2*,
    • In 2025–26, LEAs are required to make TK available to all children who will have their fourth birthday by September 1* of the school year.
    • *Inclusive of these dates

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UPK Workforce

  1. What is the California Department of Education's (CDEs) role in supporting the workforce of early learning and care programs whose staff may be moving to teach transitional kindergarten (TK)?
    • The CDE recognizes that recruitment and retention of high-quality staff can be challenging for early learning and care programs.
    • Rate reform for the California State Preschool Program (CSPP) provides the opportunity for higher reimbursement rates and may allow some contractors to raise salaries and recruit and retain more qualified staff.
  2. What are the requirements for transitional kindergarten teacher credentials? (Updated 3-Oct-2023)
    • Credentialed teachers who are first assigned to a transitional kindergarten (TK) classroom after July 1, 2015, must have, by August 1, 2025, one of the following:
      • at least 24 units in early childhood education or child development, or both;
      • as determined and documented by the local educational agency employing the teacher, professional experience in a classroom setting with preschool age children meeting the criteria established by the governing board or body of the local educational agency that is comparable to the 24 units of education; or
      • a Child Development Teacher Permit, or an early childhood education specialist credential, issued from the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC)
        • Permit options: Child Development Teacher Permit, Child Development Master Teacher Permit, Child Development Site Supervisor Permit, or the Child Development Program Director
    • Please see California Education Code (EC) Section 48000(g)(4) for more information.
  3. What criteria must be met by a local educational agency to determine the professional experience option for transitional kindergarten teacher requirements under Education Code 48000? (New 3-Oct-2023)

    Pursuant to Education Code (EC) 48000(g)(4)(B), local educational agencies (LEAs) must determine and document the employing teacher’s professional experience in a classroom setting with preschool age children meeting the criteria established by the governing board or body of the local educational agency that is comparable to the 24 units of education. This professional experience option is determined by each district and not automatically transferable between districts.

  4. What is required when LEAs hire a paraprofessional or instructional aide as the second adult in a transitional kindergarten (TK) classroom?

    The qualifications for paraprofessionals or instructional aides vary based on the school type. The qualifications are as follows:

    • Non-Title I schools:
      • Have a high school diploma or the equivalent, and
      • Pass a local assessment of knowledge and skills in assisting in instruction (This is a locally approved assessment. Local educational agencies may develop their own assessment or use an existing assessment so long as it measures the knowledge and skills in assisting in instruction. Many districts use the California Basic Educational Skills Test [CBEST] for this purpose.) (California Education Code[EC] Section 45330, 20 United States Code [U.S.C.], Section 1112[c][6]). Local educational agencies may also have specific requirements for employment.
    • Title I Schools:
      • High school diploma or the equivalent, and
      • Two years of college (48 units), or
      • A. A. degree (or higher),or
      • Pass a local assessment of knowledge and skills in assisting in instruction. (This is a locally approved assessment. Local educational agencies may develop their own assessment or use an existing assessment so long as it measures the knowledge and skills in assisting in instruction. Many districts use the CBEST for this purpose).  Local educational agencies may also have specific requirements for employment.
  5. Do transitional kindergarten (TK) teachers need to have a teaching credential? (Updated 19-Oct-2022)

    Yes, in California, TK teachers need to have a teaching credential, just like kindergarten teachers. Credentials that authorize instruction in TK programs are provided below:

    Kindergarten-Primary (grades Kindergarten (K) through grade 3)
    Elementary (grades K through 8)
    Early Childhood (preschool through 3)
    Elementary (grades K through 8)
    Multiple Subject (preschool, K through 12 and adults)
    Multiple Subject University Intern (preschool, grades K through12 and adults)
    Multiple Subject District Intern (grades K through 8)
    Specialist Instruction Credential in Early Childhood Education

    A Multiple Subject General Education Limited Assignment Permit (GELAP), Multiple Subject Short-Term Staff Permit (STSP) or Multiple Subject Provisional Internship Permit (PIP) authorizes the same service as a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential.

  6. In California Education Code (EC) 48000(g), are the terms “assigned” and “taught” interchangeable? (Updated 14-Jun-2022)

    The term “assigned” means that a credentialed teacher is directed or hired to teach transitional kindergarten (TK). This TK teacher may or may not have taught a TK student prior to July 1, 2015. Therefore, the terms assigned and taught are not necessarily interchangeable.

  7. Can a transitional kindergarten (TK) or kindergarten (K) teacher be assigned to teach multiple sessions in one day, such as an AM/PM model? (Posted 10-Jan-2023)
    • Pursuant to Education Code (EC) Section 46118, a TK or K class teacher can only be assigned one session of TK or K daily as a principal teacher. Additionally, each session must maintain a minimum of 180 minutes per schoolday, the teacher must be a full-time certificated employee, and this teacher shall be available for assistance or assignment in the instructional program of the primary grades when not involved in the TK or K program.
  8. What specific courses must teachers take in order to meet the additional statutory requirements, specifically, the 24-unit requirement set forth in EC 48000(g)(4)(A)? (Updated 3-Oct-2023)
    • It is the intent of the Legislature to ensure transitional kindergarten (TK) teachers have the knowledge in early education and child development to effectively teach 4-year-old children. Any teacher who is assigned to teach TK on or after July 1, 2015, will have until August 1, 2025, to meet one of the requirements stated in California Education Code (EC) Section 48000(g)(4). For purposes of meeting the 24-units in early education or child development, or both, set forth in EC Section 48000(g)(4)(A), “units” means semester units, or their quarterly equivalent, as used for the purposes of a degree program at the University of California, California State University, California Community Colleges, or independent institutions of higher education, as defined in EC Section 66010. "Continuing education" units are only applicable if they are issued by an accredited institution of higher education as semester- or quarter-equivalent units. LEAs must monitor and document the completion of units.
    • Local educational agencies and the Child Development Training Consortium (CDTC) can be resources regarding what classes are available in your community and online. (See contact information at the bottom of this web page.)
  9. How should local educational agencies (LEAs) document credentialing/permitting for teachers assigned to teach Transitional Kindergarten (TK)? (Updated 26-Sep-2022)

    LEAs are responsible for ensuring that TK teachers meet statutory requirements. The LEA of the credentialed teacher must follow the local process for personnel record keeping and ensure the new TK teacher requirements are being met. For more information about credentials/permits, please contact the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) External link opens in new window or tab. .

  10. Can transitional kindergarten (TK) teachers “loop” (remain) with their students into kindergarten? (Updated 14-Jun-2022)

    The decision to have teachers move through the grades with their students from TK to kindergarten (and beyond) is a local decision.

  11. What are the credential requirements for TK teachers providing independent study instruction? (Updated 21-Jul-2022)
    • Independent study must be provided under the general supervision of an employee of the local educational agency (LEA) who possesses a valid certification document pursuant to Education Code (EC) sections 44865, 44300, or 47605(l).
    • For traditional independent study, EC Section 51747.5(a) states: The independent study by each pupil shall be coordinated, evaluated, and, notwithstanding subdivision (a) of EC Section 46300, shall be under the general supervision of an employee of the LEA who possesses a valid certification document pursuant to EC Section 44865 or an emergency credential pursuant to EC Section 44300, registered as required by law.
    • Course-based independent study (CBIS) courses are taught under the general supervision of certificated employees who hold the appropriate subject matter credential pursuant to EC sections 44300, 44865 or 47605(l). CBIS teachers shall be employed by the LEA at which the pupil is enrolled, or by a LEA that has a Memorandum of Understanding to provide the instruction. EC Section 51749.5(a)(3)
    • As a condition of apportionment, existing law requires a credentialed teacher who is first assigned to a TK classroom after July 1, 2015, to have one of the following by August 1, 2025:
      • At least 24 units in early childhood education, childhood development, or both;
      • As determined by the LEA employing the teacher, professional experience in a classroom setting with preschool age children that is comparable to the 24 units of education described above; or
      • A child development teacher permit issued by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing.
        • Permit options: Child Development Teacher Permit, Child Development Master Teacher Permit, Child Development Site Supervisor Permit, or the Child Development Program Director Permit
    • Please visit the Independent Study FAQ page for more information: Independent Study Frequently Asked Questions - Independent Study
  12. Can a teacher with a single subject credential teach TK? (Updated 14-Jun-2022)
    • Yes, Education Code (EC) 44263 does allow a single subject credential holder to be assigned to TK by this section or a multiple subject class if he or she holds at least 60 semester hours equally distributed among the 10 areas of a diversified major set forth in Section 44314. A three-semester-unit variance in any of the required 10 areas may be allowed.
    • However, that means that the single subject teacher would need to have 60 semester hours in the 10 areas listed in 44314 to be authorized for the assignment and then the 24 ECE and CD units to be eligible for apportionment.
    • All other requirements per EC 48000(g)(4) for a Transitional Kindergarten teacher will need to be met.
    • Please visit the CTC website for additional information regarding credentials External link opens in new window or tab. .
    • Please note the May Revision to the Governor’s January budget for the 2022–23 fiscal year includes additional proposals regarding who else may teach in a TK classroom. The CDE will update this information after the 2022–23 budget is enacted.
  13. Do substitute teachers need to meet the new Transitional Kindergarten teacher requirements? (Updated 14-Jun-2022)

    No, a TK substitute teacher must meet the same requirements as a Kindergarten substitute teacher.

  14. What are the requirements for an Emergency Permit to teach TK? (Posted 30-Mar-2023)
    Pursuant to Education Code (EC) 44300(j), the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) may issue an Emergency Specialist Teaching Permit in Early Childhood Education that authorizes teaching all subjects in a self-contained Transitional Kindergarten (TK) general education classroom. This permit, also known as the Emergency Transitional Kindergarten (ETK) Permit, is available at the request of a local employing agency.

    A “local employing agency” is defined as a California public school district, county office of education, nonpublic, nonsectarian school and agency as defined in EC sections 56365 and 56366, charter school, or statewide agency.

    Educators cannot apply for the permit on their own. Instead, they must have an employing agency apply on their behalf.

    With this Emergency TK Permit, applicants that meet the following additional requirements may serve as a lead teacher in a TK general education classroom.
    • Possess a baccalaureate or higher degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education and hold a valid commission-issued child development permit at the teacher or higher level.
    • Satisfy the subject matter requirement by one of the following options (note the third option is only available starting on July 1, 2023):
      • Complete 24 semester units of coursework in child development or early childhood education at a regionally accredited institution of higher education.
      • Hold a baccalaureate or higher degree conferred by a regionally accredited institution of higher education where the major is in child development, early childhood education, or a similar major (please note: a similar major must have a significant emphasis in early childhood or child development (birth-age 5).
      • Commencing July 1, 2023, has three or more years of full-time lead- or primary-teaching experience in a TK setting, preschool-age early childhood, child development program, or a combination thereof. Experience may include teaching experience in a public or private preschool or TK setting, Head Start program, or state-funded preschool program.

    For more information regarding the ETK Permit, please visit Emergency Specialist Teaching Permit in Early Childhood Education (CL-909) External link opens in new window or tab. or contact the CTC External link opens in new window or tab. .

  15. As of 2022-23, LEAs must maintain an average of at least one adult for every 12 pupils for Transitional Kindergarten (TK) classrooms at each school site. If a second adult is necessary to meet ratio requirements, would they need to meet any particular qualifications? (Posted 19-Oct-2022)

    California Education Code (EC) Section 48000(g)(2) states that commencing with the 2022–23 school year, districts must maintain an average of at least one adult for every 12 pupils for TK classrooms. Each classroom must include a first adult who meets the requirements of EC Section 48000(g)(4). Currently, statute does not specify qualifications or credentials of the second adult; however, the second adult must be at least 18 years of age, fingerprinted, and an employee of the school district. To ensure high-quality learning environments for all TK students, districts should consider employing adults from the following options to staff TK classrooms:
    1. Credentialed Teachers
    2. Assistant Teachers/Paraprofessionals
    3. Registered apprenticeships participants
    4. Any Classified School Employee Teacher Credentialing grant participant serving in any other role in the district who prefers to transfer to serving in a TK classroom
    5. Any teacher preparation candidate from any pathway seeking clinical practice experience
    6. ROP/HERO/Future Teachers/Dual Enrollment participants seeking practicum experience
    7. Holder of any level of the child development permit or a candidate seeking practicum experience for a Child Development Permit

  16. If a student’s IEP requires the student to receive specialized academic instruction (SAI), is the teacher who provides the SAI required to meet the additional requirements described in EC 48000(g)(4)? (New 3-Oct-2023)

    The teacher who provides a student with SAI pursuant to a student’s IEP does not need to meet the requirements of EC 48000(g)(4) as the teacher providing the SAI is not the teacher of record. Please see the Commission on Teacher Credentialing External link opens in new window or tab. website for more details.

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TK Admission and Enrollment

  1. Who is age-eligible for Transitional Kindergarten (TK)? (Updated 26-Sep-2022)
    • In 2022–23, children are eligible for TK if they turn 5 years old between September 2 and February 2*,
    • In 2023–24, children are eligible for TK if they turn 5 between September 2 and April 2*,
    • In 2024–25, children are eligible for TK if they turn 5 between September 2 and June 2*,
    • In 2025–26, LEAs are required to make TK available to all children who will have their fourth birthday by September 1* of the school year.
    • *Inclusive of these dates

    However, pursuant to EC Section 48000(c)(2)(A), a school district or charter school may, at any time during a school year (including at the beginning of the school year) admit a child to a TK program who will have his or her fifth birthday after the TK eligibility cut-off dates listed above, but during that same school year, with the approval of the parent or guardian, if the governing board of the school district or the governing body of the charter school determines that the admittance is in the best interests of the child and the parent or guardian is given information regarding the advantages and disadvantages and any other explanatory information about the effect of this early admittance. Average Daily Attendance (ADA) can be claimed for these students once they attain the age of five (EC Section 48000(c)(2)(B)).

  2. Must children attend Transitional Kindergarten (TK)? (Updated 26-Sep-2022)

    No. Children are not required to attend TK.

  3. Is Transitional Kindergarten (TK) considered a separate grade level? (Updated 21-Jul-2022)

    No. TK is still officially considered in law the first year of a two-year kindergarten program. Operationally, with the expansion to include all children who are 4-years-old by September 1st by the 2025-26 school year, children in TK are enrolled in a PreKindergarten program the year before kindergarten. In addition, as described in Education Code (EC) Section 48000, pupil level data, inclusive of TK programs, shall be collected separately from kindergarten pupil data in elementary and secondary schools, including, but not limited to, juvenile court schools, alternative schools, continuation schools, special education schools, and adult educational programs offering a high school diploma or equivalency.

  4. Can students who are age-eligible for kindergarten attend transitional kindergarten (TK)?

    Although this is a local decision, the California Department of Education (CDE) recommends that districts establish criteria to determine selection requirements for kindergarten-eligible children who enroll in TK. Children who are age-eligible to attend kindergarten, but choose to enroll in TK 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.

  5. Should students who are four-years-old receive their pre-kindergarten booster vaccines?

    Yes. Under California’s kindergarten immunization requirements External link opens in new window or tab. , even four-year-old children need their pre-kindergarten immunizations prior to the first day of transitional kindergarten (TK) where they could potentially be exposed to vaccine preventable diseases. The federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Academy Family Physicians recommend pre-kindergarten immunizations External link opens in new window or tab. starting as young as four years of age.

  6. What are the immunization requirements for a student enrolled in Transitional Kindergarten (TK)? (Updated 26-Sep-2022)

    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. External link opens in new window or tab.

  7. Are waiting lists allowed for Transitional Kindergarten (TK) classes? (Posted 27-May-2022)

    All school districts are required to provide TK to age-eligible children, which for 2022–23 are all children who will have their fifth birthday according to the mandated implementation schedule as found in Education Code (EC) Section 48000(c)(1).

    • Although demographics and class size restrictions may prevent parents/guardians from enrolling their children in their neighborhood or other specific school within a school district, no age-eligible child may be denied access to TK by being placed on a waiting list. While local education officials may need a day or two to identify an available TK classroom, the district must provide the name(s) of available schools with a TK classroom. Parents or guardians may discuss school choice options with district officials.
    • Note: Children are not required to attend Kindergarten or TK, however in California, children are subject to compulsory full-time education beginning at age six (EC Section 48200). Lastly, every county office of education, district, and charter school governing board is required to have established local complaint policies that describe the procedures that must be followed to resolve complaints. Copies of complaint policies and procedures are available at the local educational agency site. Complaints about TK against a district, school, principal, teacher, or school personnel are not within the jurisdiction of the California Department of Education. Each local district governing board has ultimate authority over general education processes.
  8. After a child completes a year of TK and is 5 years old, can the parent choose to have their child skip kindergarten and enter first grade? (New 3-Oct-2023)
    • There is no requirement that a student first complete a year of transitional kindergarten or kindergarten before enrolling in first grade. However, California law requires a child to be six years old on or before September 1 to be legally eligible for first grade (Education Code (EC) Section 48010). If a child is not six years old by this date, they may be admitted to the first grade pursuant to EC 48011, if the child has completed one year of kindergarten or, in some cases, has attended some kindergarten. Please note that a year of transitional kindergarten is not equivalent to a year of kindergarten, for purposes of EC Section 48011
    • To find more information regarding these requirements and the enrollment process for an age-ineligible student, visit the Kindergarten in California web page.
  9. Are transitional kindergarten (TK) students required to complete the entire two-year program?

    This is a local decision.

  10. Is a Kindergarten Continuance Form needed to continue a child from transitional kindergarten (TK) to kindergarten? (Updated 27-May-2022)

    Children who are enrolled in TK do not need a signed Kindergarten Continuance Form to continue into Kindergarten. However, if a child is age-eligible to attend Kindergarten and chooses to enroll in TK, then they will need a signed Kindergarten Continuance Form.

  11. Can an age-eligible student who is not toilet trained be enrolled into transitional kindergarten? (Updated 15-Dec-2022)

    A school district, county office of education, or charter school must offer transitional kindergarten (TK) and kindergarten classes for all age-eligible children to attend, regardless of their toilet training status. Local educational agencies can decide how to address the needs of a non-toilet-trained age-eligible TK student to ensure they are able to attend TK and kindergarten classes. If the child has an individualized education program (IEP), accommodations should be addressed in the IEP meeting.

  12. Can a local educational agency disenroll, suspend or expel a child from TK due to behavior issues? (New 3-Oct-2023)

    The extent to which an LEA may disenroll, suspend or expel a child from TK does not change because a student is enrolled in TK; an LEA must follow the same laws, policies and procedures it follows for Kindergarten students, including for eligible students with disabilities. More information to help administrators decide when expulsion of a student is deemed mandatory, expected, or at administrator discretion, can be found at https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/ss/se/expulsionrecomm.asp.
    As a reminder, the requirements for suspension and expulsion of a child enrolled in CSPP differ from TK. For more information, please visit https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220AB2806.https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=202120220AB2806 External link opens in new window or tab.

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TK Class Size and Ratio

  1. What are the adult-to-student ratios for Transition Kindergarten (TK) classrooms? (Revised 26-Sep-2023)
  2. What is the adult-to-student ratio for Transitional Kindergarten (TK) during recess and lunch? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)
  3. How is the average calculated for the 1:12 adult-to-student Transitional Kindergarten (TK) ratio? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)
  4. Are Transitional Kindergarten (TK) classes required to maintain a schoolsite average of 24 students? How is the average calculated? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)
  5. Is it acceptable for a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) class to have more than 24 students if they maintain the 1:12 adult-to-student ratio? (Posted 19-Dec-2022) 
  6. Does the 1:12 adult-to-student ratio need to be maintained at all times during the instructional day? (Updated 26-Sep-2023)
  7. Can a special education aid or a speech therapist assigned to work with specific students in the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) classroom be counted in the 1:12 ratio? (Revised 26-Sep-2023)
  8. Can an adult assigned to a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) classroom on a part-time basis be counted in the 1:12 ratio? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)
  9. Do the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) class size and adult-to-student ratio requirements apply to all students in combination classes, or only to the Transitional Kindergarten students in the class? (Updated 26-Sep-2023)
  10. Do the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) class size and adult-to-student ratio apply to students participating in independent study? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)
  11. Do the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) class size and adult-to-student ratio requirements apply to special education students? (Posted 19-Dec-2022) 
  12. Can a school district or charter school apply for a waiver for the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) classroom enrollment and ratio requirements? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)
  13. Can we have a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) class with more than 24 students if we add a third adult? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)
  14. Are Transitional Kindergarten (TK) students who are ineligible to generate Average Daily Attendance, due to their age, included in the TK class size and adult-to-student ratio counts? (Updated 26-Sep-2023) 

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TK Curriculum and Assessment

  1. What is the curriculum for Transitional Kindergarten (TK)? (Updated 14-Jun-2022)

    California law (EC 48000) defines TK 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, pursuant to EC 48000(f), TK programs are intended to be aligned to the California Preschool Learning Foundations developed by the CDE.

    • As TK expands to serve younger four-year-old children, it is imperative that programs offer developmentally informed educational opportunities by ensuring their curriculum is aligned to the PLF.
    • The 2021–22 California State Budget included funding to update the PLF to incorporate recent research in the field, including best practices to support dual language learners (DLL), reduce racial bias, and better support the inclusion of children with disabilities.
  2. What assessments are recommended in Transitional Kindergarten classrooms (TK)? (Posted 27-May-2022)

    In 2021–22, Transitional Kindergarten (TK) classrooms are not required to use specific assessment tools, although best practice would include utilizing assessments to understand and intentionally support children’s development of key skills like math, language, literacy, and social-emotional skills (e.g., The Desired Results Developmental Profile [DRDP]).

    • Local educational agencies (LEAs) need to ensure that developmentally informed practices, curricula, and assessments are used in these classrooms. At this time, the CDE does not have any specific recommendations for direct assessments of children’s skills; however, the CDE still encourages the use of screening and assessment tools if they are linguistically and culturally appropriate.
    • If an LEA has a CSPP and TK combo class, the LEA will be required to use the DRDP assessment to measure the development of children enrolled in CSPP, along with other program requirements as specified in Education Code (EC) Section 48000(h).
    • TK classrooms are not required to use the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) or the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS). LEAs may choose to utilize classroom observation tools like the CLASS or ECERS to support responsive interactions and relationships between TK teachers and students and to support developmentally informed instruction. However, LEAs that have CSPP and TK combo classes are required to use the ECERS.
  3. Is the Initial English Language Proficiency Assessments for California (ELPAC) required for transitional kindergarten students? (Posted 30-Mar-2023)

    Yes. Pursuant to Education Code (EC), section 313(a), California Code of Regulations, Title 5, section 11518.5, and 20 U.S.C. section 6823(b), local educational agencies, including public charter schools, are required to use a home language survey to identify all students who may be English learners, and assess those students for such status within 30 days of initial enrollment. These requirements apply equally to any student enrolled in Transitional Kindergarten.

  4. Will TK classrooms be required to use the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) and the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS)? (Updated 14-Jun-2022)

    Transitional kindergarten (TK) classrooms are not required to use Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) or the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale (ECERS). Local educational agencies (LEAs) may choose to utilize classroom observation tools like the CLASS or ECERS to support nurturing relationships between TK teachers and students and developmentally-informed instruction; however, LEAs that place children enrolled in California State Preschool Programs (CSPPs) into a TK program classroom are required to use the ECERS.

  5. Are there required instructional minutes for transitional kindergarten (TK) in the areas of physical education (PE), English language arts (ELA) and math? (Posted 19-Oct-2022)

    While there are total instructional minute requirements applicable to TK, there are no required instructional minutes for TK in the areas of PE, ELA, or math.

  6. As part of UPK expansion, how are the California Preschool Learning Foundations being updated? (Updated 27-May-2022)
    • The updates of the California Preschool Learning Foundations will incorporate recent research in the field, including best practices to support dual language learners (DLL), reduce racial bias, and better support the inclusion of children with disabilities. The California Department of Education (CDE) will engage with teachers, child development and equity, diversity, inclusion researchers, and constituency groups as primary sources of input into the review and development of the updated California Preschool Learning Foundations.
    • Additionally, the CDE will be updating the California Preschool Learning Foundations to extend up through third grade, which aligns with the CDE’s Preschool through Third Grade (P-3) Alignment Initiative. The P-3 Alignment Initiative seeks to 1) elevate the importance of alignment and coherence across early grades and systems, and 2) support improved coordination of policies and practices in and across early childhood education settings, through transitions to preschool, Transitional Kindergarten (TK), Kindergarten, and across the early grades and beyond.
    • The California Preschool Learning Foundations work is grounded in the principle that starting early matters. Ensuring children have high-quality early learning opportunities and making sure the positive outcomes of these experiences are sustained through the early elementary years is the best way to provide all children with a strong foundation from which to thrive in future years.

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TK Early Enrollment

  1. Can children with summer birthdays enroll in a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program? (New 26-Sep-2023)
  2. What is an “early enrollment child”? (New 26-Sep-2023)
  3. Are school districts and charter schools required to admit “early enrollment children” into a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program? (New 26-Sep-2023) 
  4. Are the statutory requirements for Transitional Kindergarten (TK) classrooms that admit “early enrollment children” the same as those that do not have any “early enrollment children?” (New 26-Sep-2023)  
  5. Can a school district or charter school admit children who turn 4 after September 1st into a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program in the 2023-24 and 2024-25 school years? (New 26-Sep-2023)
  6. Do “early enrollment children” generate Average Daily Attendance (ADA)? (New 26-Sep-2023)
  7. How is the 1:10 adult-to-student Transitional Kindergarten (TK) ratio calculated? (New 26-Sep-2023)
  8. Are Transitional Kindergarten (TK) classes required to maintain a schoolsite average of 20 students? How is the average calculated? (Posted 19-Dec-2022) 
  9. What are the penalties for not meeting the early enrollment Transitional Kindergarten (TK) requirements for class size, adult-to-student ratios, and teacher credentialing? (New 26-Sep-2023)
  10. Are the requirements for early enrollment children waivable? (New 26-Sep-2023) 
  11. If a class includes a combination of age-eligible and early enrollment children, what requirements must be met? (New 26-Sep-2023)
  12. Must an early enrollment child be offered the required instructional minutes and days in California Education Code (EC) for Transitional Kindergarten (TK)? (New 26-Sep-2023)
  13. How are the requirements for the 1:10 adult-to-student ratio and class size of no more than 20 calculated for Traditional Kindergarten classrooms with early enrollment children? How will the respective audit penalties be assessed? (New 26-Sep-2023)

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TK Funding and Reporting Information

  1. How should a school report transitional kindergarten (TK) students for the kindergarten annual immunization assessment report? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)
  2. If a transitional kindergarten (TK) student who turns five between September 2 and the TK eligibility cut-off date for the applicable school year starts school on the first day of the school year, can we only claim Average Daily Attendance (ADA) from the time the student turns five-years-old, or can we claim ADA from the first day of the school year? (Updated 26-Sep-2023)
  3. Can we claim Average Daily Attendance (ADA) for a student who turns five after the end date of the TK eligibility cut-off date (listed below) from the first day of the school year? (Posted 19-Dec-2022) 
  4. How is Average Daily Attendance (ADA) reported for transitional kindergarten (TK)? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)
  5. Are school districts and charter schools required to report transitional kindergarten (TK) information via the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS)? (Updated 26-Sep-2023)
  6. Should a student who turns five after the applicable TK eligibility cut-off date (listed below) but is enrolled in transitional kindergarten (TK) prior to the fifth birthday be included in the active enrollment count for the purposes of calculating the average class enrollment for the K–3 Grade Span Adjustment or the Class Size Penalty Calculation under LCFF? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)
  7. How many years can a district claim apportionment for transitional kindergarten (TK ) and kindergarten? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)
  8. Can a school district partner with a non-local educational agency (LEA) to provide their Transitional Kindergarten (TK) services? (Posted 19-Dec-2022) 
  9. Can district A enter into an interdistrict transfer agreement with district B so that district B can provide a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program for district A’s TK-eligible children? (New 26-Sep-2023)
  10. Can a local educational agency (LEA) meet the transitional kindergarten (TK) offering requirement through a vendor? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)
  11. Can a school district contract or enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with another LEA to operate its Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Program? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)
  12. Can a preschool program generate TK funding? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)
  13. Can a local educational agency implement Transitional Kindergarten (TK) age eligibility expansion ahead of the statutory schedule? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)
  14. What are the penalties for not meeting the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) requirements for class size, adult-to-student ratios, and teacher credentialing? (Updated 26-Sep-2023)
  15. Are there any changes to the credentialing requirements for teachers who are assigned to a Transitional Kindergarten class in the 2023-24 school year? (New 26-Sep-2023)

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TK Instructional Time

  1. Is there a specific number of instructional minutes required for Transitional Kindergarten (TK)? (Updated 21-Jul-2022)
  2. Must a student admitted to transitional kindergarten (TK) at the start of the school year whose fifth birthday occurs after the applicable TK eligibility cut-off date of that same school year be scheduled for and offered the required instructional minutes in California Education Code (EC) for TK/kindergarten? (Updated 26-Sep-2022) 
  3. Are instructional minutes for transitional kindergarten (TK) and Kindergarten inclusive of recess? (Posted 26-Sep-2022)
  4. Are instructional minutes for transitional kindergarten (TK) and Kindergarten inclusive of breakfast? (Posted 26-Sep-2022) 
  5. Are instructional minutes for transitional kindergarten (TK) and Kindergarten inclusive of lunch? (Posted 26-Sep-2022)
  6. If nap time is built into the daily schedule for Transitional Kindergarten (TK), does this time count as instructional minutes? (Posted 26-Sep-2022)

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TK Program Information

  1. What is Transitional Kindergarten (TK)? (Updated 26-Sep-2022)
    • The Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010 created transitional kindergarten, the first year of a two-year kindergarten experience, which initially was available for students born between September and December. The Act also gradually changed the kindergarten entry date from December 2 to September 1, so all children would enter kindergarten at age 5 by 2014. This historic legislation meant that more than 120,000 children would have access to an additional year of high-quality early learning and, as a result, be better prepared to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.
    • In 2021, legislation was passed that requires any school district operating a kindergarten to also provide a TK program for all children who turn four years old by September 1 by the year 2025–26. TK uses a modified kindergarten curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate and based on California's Preschool Learning Foundations and Frameworks.
    • The age at which children are eligible for TK changes from 2022–23 to 2025–26.
      • In the 2022–23 school year, children who will turn five years old between September 2 and February 2* are eligible for TK.
      • In the 2023–24 school year, children who will turn five years old between September 2 and April 2* are eligible for TK.
      • In the 2024–25 school year, children who turn five years old between September 2 and June 2* are eligible for TK.
      • In the 2025–26 school year, and in each school year thereafter, children who will turn four years old by September 1* are eligible for TK.
        *Inclusive of these dates
  2. What does universally available Transitional Kindergarten (UTK) mean? (Updated 26-Sep-2022)
    • Education Code section 48000(c) requires any school district operating a Kindergarten to also provide a TK program for all 4-year-old children by 2025–26. Universally available TK means that by 2025–26, regardless of background, race, zip code, immigration status, or income level, every child whose fourth birthday occurs by September 1 will have access to TK at a school district as a quality learning experience the year before Kindergarten.
      • In 2022–23, children turning five between September 2 and February 2* are eligible for TK. The age by which children are eligible for TK will expand over the next three years as follows:
        • In the 2023–24 school year, children who will turn five between September 2 and April 2* are eligible for TK.
        • In the 2024–25 school year, children who turn five between September 2 and June 2* are eligible for TK.
        • In the 2025–26 school year, and in each school year thereafter, children who will turn four by September 1* are eligible for TK.
          *Inclusive of these dates
        • Children who turn five after the applicable cutoff date for TK eligibility between the 2022–23 and 2025–26 school year may be admitted at the discretion of the LEA and parents. The LEA will not generate average daily attendance (ADA) for a child whose birthday occurs outside of the date provided in Education Code (EC) Section 48000(c) until the child turns five years old. At the LEA discretion, the LEA may apply for California State Preschool Program (CSPP) funding to support enrollment of children that are not age eligible for TK but do meet the other eligibility requirements for CSPP. Additionally, the LEA may choose to include funding from its Local Control and Accountability Plan to offer UPK to these children.
  3. Is a school district required to offer TK and Kindergarten programs? (Updated 27-May-2022)

    A school district or county office of education operating a kindergarten program must offer TK for age-eligible children to attend. However, not every school site in a school district is required to offer TK. No age-eligible child may be denied access to TK by being placed on a waiting list.

    The CDE strongly encourages local educational agencies (LEAs) to offer TK at all elementary school sites, with particular focus on neighborhoods where children are most in need of access to preschool education. Additionally, in high-impact neighborhoods, the CDE strongly encourages LEAs to consider pairing TK programs with access to Head Start and California State Preschool Programs (CSPP) for age- and income-eligible three- and four-year-old children to further bolster program quality, either through the LEA’s own Head Start or CSPP program or via a contract partnership with a community-based organization (CBO) that administers a Head Start or CSPP program.

  4. How does transitional (TK) affect basic aid districts?

    Regardless if a district receives state revenues through the Local Control Funding Formula or is a basic aid district, if it offers kindergarten, then the expectation is that it also offers TK as TK is the first year of a two-year kindergarten program. Most districts are embracing TK because early learning is the most effective strategy to close the socioeconomic academic achievement gap and helps build a strong school community by connecting families to their local schools starting with 4-year-olds.

    In addition, any basic aid school districts that received funding for UPK Planning & Implementation must use the money to develop a plan articulating how all children will have access to full-day learning programs the year before kindergarten that meet the needs of parents, including through partnerships with the LEA’s expanded learning offerings, the After-School Education and Safety Program, CSPPs, Head Start programs, and other community-based early learning and care programs.

  5. Can transitional kindergarten (TK) and kindergarten students be enrolled in the same classroom?

    Although the intent of the law is to provide separate and unique experiences for TK and kindergarten students, local education agencies (LEAs) have flexibility to determine how best to meet the curricular needs of each child.

  6. What type of facility should be used for transitional kindergarten (TK)? (Updated 26-Sep-2022)
    • Facility requirements for TK are the same as the requirements for Kindergarten.
    • The state has established TK/K as a two year/single grade program. To that end, the classroom sizes should be comparable to each other, which allows greater flexibility as enrollment changes.
    • Facilities funding specific to the TK implementation is available. LEAs can find information about applying for the California State Preschool, Transitional, Kindergarten and Full-Day Kindergarten Facilities Grant Program Funding by contacting the Department of General Services, Office of Public School Construction External link opens in new window or tab.
      • Under this Program the same regulations cited above would apply.

    .

  7. Are the Williams requirements the same for Transitional Kindergarten (TK) and Kindergarten? (Updated 27-May-2022)

    Yes, the Williams requirements are the same for both TK and Kindergarten. For more information please visit: Williams Case - Correspondence

  8. How are the needs of English learners addressed in TK? (Posted 22-Jan-2016)

    Just as for English learners in kindergarten, local education agencies (LEAs) have a dual obligation to English learners in TK: first, to provide a program designed to overcome language barriers, and second to provide meaningful access to the core curriculum (Castañeda v. Pickard 648 F. 2d 989, [5th Cir. 1981]).

  9. Are parents of English learners required to fill out waivers to enroll their child in a language acquisition program?

    No. The requirement that English learners waive placement in an English classroom was repealed. (EC 310, 311.)

    For more information, visit the CDE Two-Way Immersion web page.

  10. Is transportation required for transitional kindergarten (TK) students? (Posted 19-Oct-2022)

    No. Currently, providing transportation is up to each local educational agency (LEA) per California Education Code Section 39800, and is only required for special education students, if identified as a related service in their Individualized Educational Program (IEP). For more information on transportation, please visit Transportation - Learning Support (CA Dept of Education).

  11. What are the fees for transportation to and from school for our part-day transitional kindergarten (TK) programs? (Posted 19-Oct-2022

    Providing transportation is a local decision and local educational agencies (LEAs) are legally permitted to charge fees for transportation they provide. However, LEAs are limited, pursuant to California Education Code Section 39807.5, in what they can charge. For information on what LEAs may charge parents for transportation fees, see Fees for Pupil Transportation FY 2007-08 - Categorical Programs (CA Dept of Education).

  12. Do charters have to offer Transitional Kindergarten (TK)? (Posted 21-Jul-2022)

    No. Charter schools are not required to offer TK. The California Department of Education’s position was previously expressed differently.

  13. Can a charter school offer TK as part of an independent study program? (Posted 27-May-2022)
    Yes. However, the independent study program that the local educational agency (LEA) is providing would have to meet the requirements of independent study in order to be eligible for funding (Article 5.5 of Chapter 5 of Part 28 of the Education Code (EC), commencing with EC Section 51745).
  14. Can Transitional Kindergarten (TK) be offered as a combination (hybrid) in-person or independent study option? (Updated 21-Jul-2022)

    Yes. While students may participate in a TK program in which the student attends part of the day or week in-person and part of the day or week in independent study, the attendance accounting and instructional time requirements for both methods of instruction would have to be met in order to generate attendance for apportionment.

    Note that the attendance accounting and instructional time requirements are extremely nuanced and failure to meet the requirements carry severe fiscal penalties. For more information regarding the attendance accounting and instructional time requirements for TK, please contact the Attendance Accounting Office at ATTENDANCEACCOUNTING@CDE.CA.GOV.

  15. What rights does a parent of an eligible child with a disability who is in TK have when they disagree with the local educational agency (LEA) regarding the identification, assessment, educational placement, or the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to the child? (New 3-Oct-2023)

    A parent of an eligible child with a disability who is in TK holds the same rights as a parent of an eligible child with a disability who is in Kindergarten. That is, under special education laws, parents of an eligible child with a disability who is in TK or Kindergarten have the same educational rights called procedural safeguards. For a link to the Notice of Procedural Safeguards, please visit the following CDE webpage Quality Assurance Process - Special Education (CA Dept of Education) and California Parent Organizations - Quality Assurance Process (CA Dept of Education).

    Inquiries regarding special education may be sent to SEDinfo@cde.ca.gov.

  16. Are local educational agencies (LEAs), including charter schools, responsible for providing special education and related services to 4-year-old children with disabilities? (New 3-Oct-2023)

    Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and its implementing regulations, the California Education Code and the California Code of Regulations, an LEA is required to provide an eligible child with a disability a free appropriate public education (FAPE). A FAPE means special education and related services that are available to an eligible child with a disability at no charge to the parent or guardian that meet the state educational standards and provides what is set out in the child’s individualized education program (IEP). The IEP includes the child’s educational placement, which is an individualized determination made by the child’s IEP team. For a 4-year-old eligible child with a disability, such a placement might include, but is not limited to, CSPP (LEA or community-based organization), Head Start (LEA or community-based organization), or TK.

    According to California Education Code (EC) Section 56026.3 “Local educational agency” means a school district, a county office of education, a nonprofit charter school participating as a member of a special education local plan area, or a special education local plan area.

    EC Section 56145 states: “Individuals with exceptional needs attending charter schools pursuant to Part 26.8 (commencing with Section 47600) shall be served in the same manner as individuals with exceptional needs served in other public schools.” Special education inquiries can be sent to SEDinfo@cde.ca.gov.

  17. How is the CDE supporting inclusive practices, particularly supports for challenging behaviors in UPK? (Posted 06-May-2022)
    • The revision of the California Preschool Learning Foundations, with a target release date of 2023, as well as the California Department of Education’s (CDE’s) Preschool through Third Grade (P-3) Alignment Initiative, seeks to address and potential for inequities, address bias, and promote equitable opportunity for all children.
    • California has made significant strides by adopting legislation which sets forth specific steps that must be taken when a child exhibits serious challenging behaviors before a California State Preschool Program (CSPP) can expel or disenroll a child.
    • The Inclusive Early Education Expansion Program (IEEEP) provides funding to increase access to inclusive early learning and care (ELC) programs for children with disabilities, including children with severe disabilities.
    • To support local educational agency (LEA) leaders in implementing UPK, particularly with regard to early education concepts, agencies, and structures, the CDE has developed Guidance for the California Prekindergarten Planning and Implementation Grant Program. This guidance is meant to support LEAs in the development of their UPK Plan for consideration by the LEA’s governing board or body at a public meeting on, or before, June 30, 2022. The guidance document can be found at the following link:
  18. Can the same federal funding source (Title 1, Title III, Economic Impact Aid [EIA], etc.) used for kindergarten be used for transitional kindergarten (TK) students who start school at the beginning of the school year and who turn five years of age after the applicable TK eligibility cut-off date (listed below)? (Updated 26-Sep-2022)

    Yes. The same funding source and compliance requirements associated with kindergarten apply to TK, including TK students for whom the school cannot collect Average Daily Attendance (ADA), as long as the activity is properly identified as a need, and referenced and evaluated in the Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) and/or LEA plan.

    • In 2022–23, children are eligible for TK if they turn 5 years old between September 2 and February 2*,
    • In 2023–24, children are eligible for TK if they turn 5 years old between September 2 and April 2*,
    • In 2024–25, children are eligible for TK if they turn 5 years old between September 2 and June 2*,
    • In 2025–26, LEAs are required to make TK available to all children who will have their fourth birthday by September 1* of the school year.
    • *Inclusive of these dates
  19. Do federal guidelines allow for free and reduced-price meals to be claimed for reimbursement for transitional kindergarten (TK) students with fifth birthdays after the applicable TK eligibility cut-off date (listed below)? (Updated 26-Sep-2022)

    Since students who attend school from the beginning of the school year are deemed to be enrolled students regardless of their age and whether ADA can be claimed for these students, districts may claim meals served to these students. The National School Lunch Program does not take into consideration age or ADA rules when serving students.

    • In 2022–23, children are eligible for TK if they turn 5 years old between September 2 and February 2*,
    • In 2023–24, children are eligible for TK if they turn 5 years old between September 2 and April 2*,
    • In 2024–25, children are eligible for TK if they turn 5 years old between September 2 and June 2*,
    • In 2025–26, LEAs are required to make TK available to all children who will have their fourth birthday by September 1* of the school year.
    • *Inclusive of these dates
  20. Can local education agencies (LEAs) charge parents a fee for those students whose fifth birthday falls after the applicable Transitional Kindergarten (TK) eligibility cut-off date (listed below) but attend TK prior to turning five? (Updated 26-Sep-2022)

    According to 5 CCR Section 350, a pupil enrolled in a school, defined as a California public school, shall not be required to pay any fee, deposit, or other charge not specifically authorized by law. This regulation stems from Title IX of the California Constitution, which guarantees a system of free public schools.

    • In 2022–23, children are eligible for TK if they turn 5 years old between September 2 and February 2*,
    • In 2023–24, children are eligible for TK if they turn 5 years old between September 2 and April 2*,
    • In 2024–25, children are eligible for TK if they turn 5 years old between September 2 and June 2*,
    • In 2025–26, LEAs are required to make TK available to all children who will have their fourth birthday by September 1* of the school year.
    • *Inclusive of these dates
  21. Are transitional kindergarten (TK) programs included in a review when the California Department of Education (CDE) performs a Federal Program Monitoring (FPM) review of a local educational agency (LEA)? (Updated 14-Jun-2022)

    Transitional kindergarten (TK) will be monitored in the same way that kindergarten through twelfth grade (K-12) is monitored. If the LEA operating a TK program was identified for a FPM review, the CDE, as part of that review, would determine whether the LEA follows state TK program requirements.

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Related Resources

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Questions:   Universal PreKindergarten Support | UPK@cde.ca.gov
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, November 15, 2023
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