LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A new grade will be added to California elementary schools by the fall of 2012: Transitional Kindergarten. It would be the first new grade level introduced in the state since 1891.
A new law, Senate Bill 1381, requires children to be 5-years-old when entering kindergarten. The new cutoff date will be September 1, instead of December 2.
The current cutoff allows some 4-year-old to enter the K-12 system early. Prior to the bill, California had the fourth-latest cutoff date in the country.
The law also requires all California schools and districts to offer Transitional Kindergarten, or TK.
Los Angeles Unified School District has already implemented 36 pilot Transitional Kindergarten programs into schools.
“Many children can benefit from an enriched kindergarten experience. Having this transition program experience will allow students to begin their schooling with a strong skill foundation on which new learning can be built,” said Dr. Judy Elliott, Chief Academic Officer for LAUSD.
The program has already seen success in some school districts across the state.
Participation in TK is up to a child’s parent. Parents who believe their child is capable of entering kindergarten early can ask the school district for early admission.