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Publication: American Institutes for Research (AIR)
Date: October 2022
The start of the 2022-23 school year marked the beginning of the expansion of California’s transitional kindergarten (TK) program, which provides an additional year of early education prior to traditional kindergarten. Until now, only about a quarter of the state’s four-year-olds (those turning 5 between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2) were eligible to attend transitional kindergarten. With the expansion, this eligibility window will widen each year until all four-year-olds—nearly half a million children—are eligible in 2025-2026, effectively creating a universal prekindergarten program. Likely more than 50 percent of these children will be dual language learners (DLLs), young children who are learning two or more languages.
This expansion of TK has the potential to put hundreds of thousands of children on a more equitable footing when they enter kindergarten. Research has shown that transitional kindergarten improves learning for children overall, with especially pronounced benefits for DLLs.