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Pre-kindergarten program will be created

11.05.2011 | The Independent | Ron McNicoll

The board also heard a report about “transitional kindergarten,” a program required by a new state law.

The bill, SB 1381, deals with the problem of preparing children for kindergartners with a readiness year, prior to kindergarten admission. They would be 4-year-olds with birthdays later in the calendar year, who could not be taken in with the 5-year-olds. (The state does not provide pupil money for kindergartners under 5 years old, but will be funding this pre-kindergarten program.)

Kindergarten enrollment is not mandatory in California, though educators recommend that parents enroll their children. By the same token, pre-kindergarten won’t be a mandatory pre-requisite for kindergarten, but it its highly recommended.

The presentation from director of curriculum and special projects Jane Golden to the board said that as kindergarten has evolved, it has become more academically inclined. The pre-kindergarten curriculum will make sure these preparatory ‘skills get more time.

The skills include such things as familiarity with stories and music, oral language experience, and large muscle development. Then traditional kindergarten will allow them to build on these skills.

Teachers and administrators will visit Bay Area school districts that already have been doing the pre-kindergarten program, including Palo Alto, which has had it for 25 years.

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