Q. I read your article today. What is the difference between pre-K and the transitional kindergarten? We were planning to sign our daughter up for pre-K at one of the public schools in our area that offered this fee based program. Our daughter turns 5 on Aug. 27, 2013. We chose not to start her in kindergarten this year because we would rather her be 18 years old entering her senior year, than just turning 17. We would like her to enter college when she turns 19, instead of 18. We believe this one year maturity difference is very meaningful at those transitional periods.
I think some parents send their children to school early because both parents are working and public schools are free compared to day care or preschool.
Do all of the grade schools offer this transitional program?
A. Pre-K programs are preschool programs and those are still fee based and not part of the public school system. The transitional kindergarten program is part of our public school system now and it is set in place now from here on out. Transitional kindergarten is meant to be the preparation year for kindergarten, and those entering transitional kindergarten would not be promoted to first grade. As a preparatory program, transitional kindergarten would be preferable to a pre-K program if your child qualifies for entrance.
The state requires districts to offer transitional kindergarten to those students with fall birthdays, Sept. 2 – Dec. 2 who are part of the date roll back, which changes the birth date requirement for entering school. All public schools are offering access to a transitional kindergarten program, but it is being rolled out differently from district to district. If parents of children with summer birthdays would like their kids to take part in a preparatory year before kindergarten, they can contact the school district to ask about being put on a waiting list for the program. Kids that take part in the transitional kindergarten would not be placed in first grade the following year. Those children with the birthdates in the required range must be placed first, and then those on the waiting list can be considered. If you do not get your child into the transitional kindergarten program, go ahead with the pre-K program. It is always better to give kids a little preparation before formal schooling begins.
Q. As teachers, may we talk to parents with kids that have fall birthdays about holding kids back in kindergarten or first grade even more now as this transitional kindergarten option is rolling back the age requirements for all kids?
A. As teachers, we can talk to parents about the option of retention to place kids in a setting with peers at their social-emotional level, but parents still get to decide for or against retention all the way through the second grade in California. Even if a teacher suggests, or strongly recommends retention, parents have the final say and can go against the teacher's recommendation. The rules change a little later once you are talking about third grade, but that is often too late to consider retention as a potential benefit, and it becomes a more severe reaction to failing. In kindergarten and first grade, retention should occur only to place kids alongside their peers so that they are not struggling for maturity and social reasons. It can be presented in a positive, unassuming way, but not all parents react to this option the same. Not all teachers react to it the same either. Sorry to give you such a long answer. The short answer is, 'Yes, you can suggest it, but you cannot require it.'
Source: OCRegister - http://goo.gl/upZjq