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Transitional kindergarten offers a safe journey for kids

01.15.2015 | The Acorn | Stephanie Bertholdo

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As a child’s introduction to school, kindergarten is no longer the laid-back, snacks and naptime place it once was.

Children starting kindergarten are expected to know colors and shapes and be familiar with letters and numbers. By the end of the school year they’ll begin to read and write.

And while for decades in California children with birthdays in the fall could start kindergarten at age 4, the state now requires children to be 5 years old by Sept. 1 in order to start kindergarten.

Many schools now offer a transitional kindergarten, a kinder, gentler introduction to the school day for not-quite-5-yearolds not ready for the modern, academically focused kindergarten classroom.

In Las Virgenes Unified School District, the transitional program is called Journeys.

Rose Dunn, the district’s assistant superintendent of personnel, said Journeys is aligned with California content standards and “will present curriculum in a sheltered, developmental way at a pace that meets students’ individual needs. Following a year in the Journeys program, students will enter a traditional kindergarten program.”

The Journeys program, which started as a pilot program at Sumac Elementary School in Agoura Hills, will now be offered at each elementary campus in the Las Virgenes district. Registration begins Feb. 4.

A dual-immersion program at Sumac has been announced this year. The school will offer the two-language program as part of its L-STEM (language, science, technology, engineering and math) Academy.

Dunn said the program will be taught in English 50 percent of the time and in Spanish 50 percent of the time.

After a year of Journeys at Sumac, the two-year kindergarten students will be given priority to enroll in the L-STEM dualimmersion program at the school.

Parents interested in the Journeys program are encouraged to call the administration office of their neighborhood elementary school for campus tours.

Those interested in the dualimmersion program can call the Sumac office at (818) 991-4940 to schedule a tour.

For more information, visit www.lvusd.org.

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