By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
If you’re 6 or already 5 years old, you’re a little too old. But if you happen to be turning 5 years old between Nov. 2 and Dec. 2 in 2012, you’re perfect for transitional kindergarten.
It’s not preschool, it’s not kindergarten. It is a two-year pre-kindergarten plus kindergarten program. This year, students who are not yet five, but will be turning five past the enrollment date for kindergarten, can enroll in transitional kindergarten.
This recently debuted program was presented on Tuesday night at the Garden Grove Unified School Board meeting.
Transitional kindergarten planning is the result of Senate Bill 1381, was signed into law in Sept. 2010 and changed the entry date for birthdays for children to enroll in kindergarten from Dec. 2 to Nov. 1 for 2012-2013, Oct. 1 for 2013-2014 and Sept. 1 for 2014-2015.
However, the requirement is that students are 5 years old to enter kindergarten. With the move of the enrollment date, some students who turn 5 after the proposed enrollment dates would be forced to stay home for a year, often after having been in preschool the year before.
The bill also required that districts provide a form of pre-kindergarten, not preschool, that would create a 2-year kindergarten program to provide service for the gap students.
“It is ludicrous to think that we would have a 100 or so kids who are now in preschool, who would have had to stay home for a year and then get thrown in to kindergarten,” said Laura Schwalm, superintendent.
Transitional kindergarten has been tested in GGUSD and focuses on learning in math, writing, systematic English language development and reasoning concepts for late 4 year olds and early five year olds.
A transitional kindergarten program is voluntary to those who would wish to participate. Around 8 percent of students in the pre-school and kindergarten age range, around 250 students, would be eligible in the upcoming year.