The universal transitional kindergarten program will be gradually phased in over the next five years, until it includes all the state’s 4-year-olds by the 2025-26 school year. Currently, transitional kindergarten, or TK, serves about 100,000 children, primarily those who turn 5 between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2. How the expanded TK program will be rolled out is detailed in SB 130, the TK-12 education trailer bill Newsom signed recently.
Although some of the state’s largest districts already offer expanded transitional kindergarten, experts say making a year of pre-kindergarten available to all is a watershed achievement in early education. Districts and charters will need help in finding the right location, adequate classroom space, and the proper configurations on their campuses for this critical grade level.
Morrissey Architects have created a useful fingertip reference guide called “Eight Important Planning Considerations for New Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten Facilities.” The guide shows how to create small teacher-to-student ratios, assure a developmentally appropriate curriculum, as well as ensure a before- and after-school services are available beyond the program’s three instructional hours. The bill mandates several quality assurance items such as starting with a ratio of 1 adult for every 12 children in the 2022-23 school year and segueing to one adult for every 10 children by the 2023-24 school year.