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New kindergarten cutoffs take effect this fall

01.25.2012 | The Beach Reporter | Annie Lubinsky

The Redondo Beach School Board learned that
the state of California wants youngsters to reach the age of 5 years
before they enter kindergarten, a change that will be fully implemented
by the 2014-15 school year.

Annette Alpern, assistant
superintendent, instructional services, told the board Jan. 24 that the
state of California amended the California Education Code to change the
birthdate cutoff for children entering kindergarten. By 2015, children
must reach 5 years of age by Sept. 1 to attend kindergarten.

For the 2012-13 school year, children must turn 5 years old by Nov. 1. For 2013-14, the date changes to Oct. 1.

The
change is to ensure that children are old enough to be ready for
kindergarten when they start. The current birthdate cutoffs allow
4-year-olds to start, and many kindergarten teachers feel that’s too
young, said Alpern.

It is hoped that in 2012-13, children with
birthdates between Nov. 2 and Dec. 2 would be enrolled in a transitional
kindergarten program at no cost to parents. The program would receive
ADA funding. Transitional kindergarten would cover an age-appropriate
and developmentally appropriate curriculum taught by credentialed
teachers. When children finish transitional kindergarten, they would
enter a traditional kindergarten program the following year.

Redondo
Beach currently provides a developmental kindergarten program that
serves kindergarten-eligible students, Alpern said. The transitional
kindergarten program would serve those whose birthdates make them
ineligible to attend kindergarten.

Transitional kindergarten
would address gross and fine motor skills development, math development,
personal safety and care, identity and social development, and language
and literacy.

Two weeks ago, Alpern said, Governor Brown
proposed eliminating funding for transitional kindergarten programs.
However, the birthdate cutoffs would still take effect.

If these
funding cuts are made, Redondo Beach will not be able to serve students
with November birthdates, Alpern said. The city might be able to serve
students with September or October birthdates in 2012. Parents would be
able to pay to send their children to one of the pre-kindergarten and
preschool programs offered in Redondo Beach.

RBUSD is creating an
email list for updates and will present more information at the
Kindergarten Information Night to be held at Washington School, 1100
Lilienthal Lane, on Wed., Feb. 1, at 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.rbusd.org.

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