Campbell to offer transitional kindergarten
04.12.2012 | The Campbell Reporter | Khalida Sarwari
Starting school is an important step for children, but for some, learning to adapt to a new environment can take time. To help those students, the Campbell Union School District will offer a program that gives students time to develop social, emotional and academic skills to prepare them for kindergarten and beyond.
Already, the school district has enough students enrolled–about 50–for three “transitional kindergarten” classes, said Marla Sanchez, a spokeswoman for the Campbell Union School District.
“In our public school system now, about 25 percent of kids are in this ‘young 5’ age group,” Sanchez said, referring to children who turn 5 from Sept. 2 to Dec. 2. “Even though academically they may be ready, socially and emotionally they need more time.”
The program was part of a state law authored by state Sen. Joe Simitian, which changed the kindergarten enrollment age in California from 5 years old by Dec. 2 to 5 years old by Sept. 1. The new age requirement will be phased in over three years, beginning this year, with the cut-off date moving back a month every year until 2014.
For those kids whose kindergarten would consequently be delayed, the law requires districts to establish a second year of kindergarten using an age- and developmentally appropriate curriculum.
“What this program does for that segment of students who need more time developmentally is basically give them a two-year kindergarten experience,” Sanchez said.
“The curriculum exposes them to standards they’d be learning in kindergarten, but gives them more hands-on experience in learning them so when they do hit kindergarten in the following year, they’ll be ready and they can master the standards.”
The class is a bridge between preschool and kindergarten with its own curriculum and credentialed teacher. During the course of a six-hour class, kids are taught skills such as sharing and sitting still, Sanchez said.
When the law was passed, the Campbell Union School District intended to have transitional kindergarten classes at eight elementary schools, said Sanchez. Then in January, when Gov. Jerry Brown called for the elimination of funding for transitional kindergarten in order to save the state $223 million, districts across California had to cut back their programs due to limited funding.
The Campbell Union School District, however, is offering transitional kindergarten to all children who turn 5 between Sept. 1 and Dec. 1. Sanchez encouraged parents to register by June 1 to give the district ample time to solidify its plans for the 2012-13 school year, which will begin on Aug. 20.
Registration forms are available at the district office, 155 N. Third St. The office is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For parents who are interested in the transitional kindergarten program, the school district is holding an informational meeting at the Campbell Community Center on April 17 at 6:30 p.m.
More information can also be found on the Campbell Union School District website at www.campbellusd.org.