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Date: December 2021
As California expands transitional kindergarten, English learner advocates are urging school districts to prioritize children learning English as a second language.
California is expanding transitional kindergarten, or TK, over four years, to eventually offer all 4-year-olds a free year of preschool before kindergarten. Previously, transitional kindergarten was only offered to children who turn 5 in the fall, between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2.
Advocates say the expansion of TK is an opportunity to offer high-quality preschool to more children who speak a language other than English at home — about 60% of young children in California, according to the Migration Policy Institute. Children who are learning English as a second language while still developing their home language are known as dual-language learners.
“We know that dual-language learners benefit disproportionately from high-quality preschool programs, but their families are not always able to access them, and they access them at a lower rate from non-dual-language-learner children,” said Carolyne Crolotte, director of dual-language learner programs for the nonprofit organization Early Edge California.