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Livermore Schools Plan Transitional Kindergarten Program

08.03.2012 | Independent News

Beginning with the 2012-13 academic year, the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (LVJUSD) will offer a Transitional Kindergarten Program (T-K program), SPROUTS, Students Participating in Readiness Opportunities Using Themes in Science.

Schools participating are Altamont Creek, Jackson Avenue, Marylin Avenue, and Michell K-8.

In the past, children born before Dec. 1 start kindergarten. The new transitional program hasestablished a three year lead in to change the admission date. In the first year, admission will be to children born between Nov. 1 and Dec. 1; the second year between Oct. 1 and Dec. 1. By the third year, the cut-off date for enrollment will be Sept. 1.

The focus for the transitional kindergarten program is Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math or STEAM. The SPROUTS T-K Program is designed to be the first year of a 2-year kindergarten experience for children affected by the State change in kindergarten eligibility. Program hours are 8:45 – 12:05 daily.

The Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010 amended the California Educational Code to change the required birthday for admission to kindergarten and first grade. The act established a transitional kindergarten program beginning in the 2012-2013 school year. Research shows that children who attend kindergarten readiness programs such as transitional kindergarten are more likely to do well in school and become lifelong learners. A transitional kindergarten is the first year of a two-year program that uses a modified kindergarten curriculum and is age and developmentally appropriate.

Superintendent of Schools Kelly Bowers said, “In the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (LVJUSD), we recognize that by enrolling students in a transitional kindergarten class, we optimize the likelihood that they will continue a successful K-12 educational career in our District. The SPROUTS T-K program will capitalize on young students’ natural curiosity and eagerness to learn, and ensure our ‘budding young minds of the future’ blossom into exceptional students and make the most of their entire academic experience. This is how life-long learners are cultivated.”

According to Kim Farrand, SPROUTS Coordinator, “The LVJUSD Transitional Kindergarten planning team met over the course of the past year to develop this unique curricular offering. The instructional and curriculum considerations are based on a blend of the California Kindergarten Standards, California Preschool Foundations and the California Common Core Standards. As developmentally appropriate, the program is driven by student interest and the Life Science Experimentation and Investigation standards. The interactive classroom structure is designed to include centers and multiple settings for hands-on activities and whole group circle time, and is organized around big ideas and themes.”

Curriculum is centered around the UC Berkeley Lawrence Hall of Science themes from their Great Explorations in Math and Science (GEMS) curriculum for young learners. Read aloud materials link to this curriculum, enabling teachers to develop vocabulary, reinforce literacy concepts, and increase content knowledge. Additional materials used to increase literacy include Handwriting Without Tears and Zoo Phonics. These materials work to develop phonemic awareness, phonics skills, letter recognition, letter/sound patterns, appropriate letter formation, and writing skills. Additionally, students will use Math Their Way to explore patterning, number sense concepts, geometry, and measurement.

Currently, children who turn 5 in November are eligible for the SPROUTS program. Older children can request a transfer into SPROUTS and will be admitted on a case-by-case basis.

To find out additional information about the LVJUSD SPROUTS T-K Program contact Student Services at 925-606-3206. A child may be registered at www.livermoreschools.com

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