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An abundance of research demonstrates that the critical window for developing the cognitive, social, and academic foundation that helps children thrive in later learning is between birth to age eight. More and more education leaders are beginning to think about their work as encompassing this span of early childhood, many of whom are focusing on PreK-3rd.
Transitional Kindergarten (TK) is at the center of this important developmental period. It is critical that as TK is expanded to serve all 4-year-olds that developmentally appropriate practices that promote play and exploration are integrated into TK and the early grades. District leadership, principals, administration, and teachers can play a critical role in connecting Pre-K, TK, Kindergarten, and the early grades through alignment, collaboration, and articulation.
Connecting TK and early childhood educators can help to deepen knowledge of best practices to support young learners. In addition, articulation between TK and Kindergarten teachers can support teachers as they determine how to complement each other in a two-year Kindergarten program. This collaboration ensures teachers are working together to build on student learning year by year, during the most critical learning period for children.
The California Department of Education (CDE) is regularly releasing guidance to inform the expansion of Universal Prekindergarten (UPK). You can explore their UPK page to learn more or contact their UPK support team at UPK@cde.ca.gov.
Additional UPK resources from the CDE:
Additional UPK implementation resources:
Below are some promising strategies to help your district implement strong P3 alignment and articulation: