About TK

The bridge between preschool and Kindergarten for California’s children

Thank you for visiting TKCalifornia, an online hub for finding easy-to-use resources for administrators, teachers, and parents as California expands Transitional Kindergarten (TK) to serve all 4-year-olds. Many educators over the years have called for a developmentally appropriate grade for our youngest learners—now with the expansion of TK, California is on the cusp of achieving the vision of the Master Plan for Early Learning and Care (MPELC), which called for a year of publicly-funded preschool for all children in California.

On this site, you can find:

Benefits of TK

Transitional Kindergarten (TK) bridges the path between preschool and Kindergarten and gives students the gift of time that will help them build a strong foundation for future school success. It blends social and emotional experiences with academic learning, so that students not only learn essential pre-literacy, pre-math, and other cognitive skills, but also develop social and self-regulation skills needed to succeed in school and life.

TK is a win-win-win for children, families, and schools! With TK:

Research shows that the return on early investments in education is substantial. According to Deborah Stipek, former dean and a professor at the Stanford University School of Education, “the cost is paid back many times over in reduced grade retentions, special education services and in lower expenditures for incarceration. Returns also come in the form of the increased productivity that results from higher levels of academic achievement and high school completion rates.”

See the latest TK news and events

TK in the News
Events and Trainings

History of TK

In 2010, California implemented the Kindergarten Readiness Act, signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, which changed how Kindergarten was offered to children in California. Early Edge California, under its former name of Preschool California, sponsored ​​the Kindergarten Readiness Act (Senate Bill (SB) 1381), which was authored by Senator Joe Simitian.

The 2010 Kindergarten Readiness Act changed the Kindergarten entry date from December 2nd to September 1st so that most children are five when they start Kindergarten (some children with mid or late August birthdays may start Kindergarten and then turn five very shortly after). The law also established Transitional Kindergarten (TK), a developmentally appropriate grade to serve our youngest learners with birthdays between September and December.

Transitional Kindergarten History - TKCalifornia Kindergarten Readiness Act - TK History - TKCalifornia

The 2015-16 state budget further clarified the law to allow school districts to enroll 4-year-olds in TK even if they turn 5 after the December cutoff date, providing another local option to get more children ready for Kindergarten. The Expanded TK approach gives districts an option to use a combination of local and Average Daily Attendance (ADA) funding to offer school readiness opportunities to children who might not otherwise have access.

The Road Ahead for TK

In 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (AB) 130, which will gradually expand Transitional Kindergarten (TK) over a four-year period, between the 2022-23 to 2025-26 school years, until all 4-year-olds have the opportunity to attend a high-quality, developmentally appropriate TK program and enter Kindergarten prepared to learn and thrive.

About TKCalifornia

Early Edge California (formerly Preschool California) and a panel of experts worked together to develop TKCalifornia in 2012 to serve the needs of teachers and administrators as they implemented Transitional Kindergarten (TK). TKCalifornia is the result of a content creation and review process led by 20 experts from across the state, including local school districts, county offices of education, researchers, and state-level decision makers. Their expertise spans the areas of language and literacy development, early math, social-emotional development and executive function, culturally responsive education, and dual language acquisition.

In 2021, Early Edge California partnered with experts to update the materials on TKCalifornia to reflect the expansion to younger children and to ensure that all materials provide the most up-to-date information and recommendations.

The content and materials on this site are based upon the following key agreements and recommendations identified by our experts as critical to TK students’ learning:

TKCalifornia is operated and maintained by Early Edge California, a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to improving access to high-quality Early Learning experiences for all California children so they can have a strong foundation for future success.

TK in the News

California’s Free Transitional Kindergarten Program
More young children are back in preschool