Tag Archives: kindergarten

Video

Occupy Kindergarten

Kindergarten has changed in the last 30 years, not kindergarteners. Thought-provoking TEDx talk from a California Kindergarten teacher. Hat tip to Miss Susie, the Kindergarten teacher I wish I’d had, who teaches lucky children at Yick Wo Elementary.

What’s up with Transitional Kindergarten?

I received a few questions about the Student Assignment Committee’s discussion on the district’s plans for Transitional Kindergarten at the August 8 meeting.  For those who aren’t sure what that is, last year the state passed a new mandate on schools, gradually moving the age cutoff for Kindergarten eligibility to September 2 from the current December 2.

Students entering Kindergarten in 2012-13 must be age 5 by November 2, 2012; those entering in 2013-14 must be age 5 by October 2, 2013 ,  and students entering Kindergarten in 2014-15  and thereafter must be 5 by September 2 of the year they enroll.   For students who turn 5 between December 2 and the new cutoff  date, the state will require districts to create a Transitional Kindergarten program to serve young four-year-olds who otherwise might have enrolled in public Kindergarten. This is a good idea, developmentally, but it’s not exactly coming at a great time for California school districts, since there is no additional cash coming with the new mandate (the Legislature is very good at thinking up new things for us to do but less good at figuring out how to pay for them).

Anyway, I wasn’t present at the meeting where staff outlined preliminary planning for SFUSD’s Transitional Kindergarten, but I did listen to a tape, so I’ve posted audio of that part of the discussion here (.mp3, about 20 minutes).

As I said in my earlier post last week, there were really more questions than answers about the district’s plans for this program so far.  Board members asked staff to bring the topic back to a Board meeting in September, hopefully with more of the blanks filled in — time is short as we will need to have enrollment materials printed for prospective families by early November.

Simitian introduces Kindergarten readiness bill

Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) has introduced a bill that would move back the state’s cutoff for Kindergarten readiness — a move recommended by policy experts.  Currently, students must turn five by December 2nd of the year they enter Kindergarten;  Simitian’s bill would move that date back to Sept. 1.  The change would be phased in over three years starting in 2012.

“Today´s kindergarten classroom is a much different place than most of us experienced,” said Simitian. “We´re placing real academic demands on our kids, and the youngest are struggling to keep up. The evidence shows that giving these younger kindergarteners an extra year can make a big difference in their long term success.”

In addition to benefiting children, Simitian´s bill would also save the State an estimated $700 million dollars in annual education spending due to the reduced student population. The cumulative savings over 13 years would reach $9.1 billion.