Submitted On: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Analyst: Gehringer, Carrie Ann
Senate Bill 837, The Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2014, was introduced on January 6th, 2014 to the California Senate. This bill would expand access to transitional kindergarten to all children who are 4 years of age by September 1st of the current school year. The bill states that transitional kindergarten will be available to all eligible children by the 2019-20 school year. The Transitional Kindergarten program would last 3 hours, and would ultimately be taught by a certificated teacher along with a supporting teacher.
There are a few strong reasons to offer transitional kindergarten for those children who are eligible. According to a report funded by the Foundation for Child Development, medium to large gains were evidenced in language and literacy curricula when those transitional kindergarten programs worked with a developmentally focused curriculum, rather than a traditional "global" preschool curriculum. Also, children who attended transitional kindergarten developed deeper socio-emotional skills, and where more comfortable expressing themselves as they went further into the educational system.
The general sense is that transitional kindergarten, while being costly in the beginning, provides far greater benefits to the children the program would serve.