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Transitional Kindergarten

Early Learning System


A transitional kindergarten is the first year of a two-year kindergarten program that uses a modified
kindergarten curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate. Pursuant to law [(SB 1381), (EC
48000[c])], a child is eligible for transitional kindergarten if a child will have his or her fifth birthday

  • For the 2012-13 school year November 2 and December 2
  • For the 2013-14 school year October 2 and December 2
  • For the 2014-15 school year and each school year thereafter September 2 and December 2

Current law mandates that school districts offer at least one transitional kindergarten program for
children whose birthdays fall after the kindergarten start date. School districts can claim average daily
attendance (ADA) funding for these children for this additional year of instruction prior to kindergarten.
Each elementary or unified school district must offer transitional kindergarten and kindergarten classes
for all children eligible to attend. Children eligible to enroll in transitional kindergarten do not need a
signed parental permission form to continue in kindergarten. However, if a district is implementing a
pilot transitional kindergarten program or enrolls a child who is age-eligible to attend kindergarten but
enrolled in transitional kindergarten, the district will need a signed parental permission form to continue
in kindergarten for one additional year.


Parents/guardians are not required to enroll children in kindergarten. In addition, compulsory education
does not begin until a child turns 6-years of age. However, each school district is required to offer
kindergarten to children who are of legal age (ED Section 48000 (a)). To be admitted to kindergarten a
child must turn 5-years of age by December 2 for 2011-12, November 1 for 2012-13, October 1 for 2013-14
and September 1 for 2014-15 and each year afterwards. Current law allows school districts to admit
children to kindergarten after the kindergarten start date but only after the child has turned 5 years old.
These children (i.e. early admission kindergartners) may not begin school at the beginning of the school
year, but they must wait until their fifth birth date occurs (EC Section 48000[b]). The decision to admit
children to kindergarten is on a case by case decision between the school district and the parents. The
school district is required to provide information to the parent/guardian about the advantages and
disadvantages of early admittance.

For school district information about Transitional Kindergarten, here are some contact links:

California Department of Education: Transitional Kindergarten Frequently Asked Questions