October 31, 2022 / Blog
California Transitional Kindergarten Program – Giving Children a Strong Start!
In California, the Transitional Kindergarten curriculum is considered a bridge between preschool and kindergarten and offers students time to build a strong foundation for future school success. Let’s take a look at ways to teach and administer a high-quality CA Transitional Kindergarten program that will get children off to a strong start.
As outlined by TK California, there are many benefits to children attending a Transitional Kindergarten program. They include:
- Being better prepared to succeed
- Entering Kindergarten with the maturity, confidence, and skills needed to excel
- Less likely to be placed in special education or held back in later grades
A successful California TK curriculum includes integrated, differentiated, and culturally responsive instruction with a strong family engagement component. Let’s look a little closer at these instructional strategies.
Integrating areas such as math, language, science, and social/emotional skills, is important to reinforce connections. The most successful teachers intentionally reinforce connections by relating topics and incorporating rich themes into their lessons. For example, children can learn new vocabulary, such as patterning through math activities, or they can learn about science concepts by being read a story about weather patterns.
Individualized and Differentiated Instruction
Through formative assessment, teachers can determine children’s progress and tailor their lessons accordingly. It is important to individualize instruction within the California Transitional Kindergarten curriculum to meet the needs of all children. This is developed with small group instruction, one-on-one time, and focused activities that help children transition to kindergarten.
Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Instruction
Early childhood is a critical time when young learners are developing their self-concept about who they are as individuals and who they are as a member of their families and community. Creating an environment that supports meaningful relationships that honor culture, ability, and home language helps children to thrive and learn. Strategies For Building A Pre-K Dual Language Program
In addition to these instructional strategies, social-emotional learning, classroom management, and developmentally appropriate practices are important aspects of a high-quality California Transitional Kindergarten curriculum.
Transitional Kindergarten programs should incorporate social-emotional learning strategies that promote self-regulation and connection. Make time to unite by singing early in the morning to set the tone for the day. This fosters a loving, safe learning environment where everyone knows they are a valuable member of their school family. Collaborating with peers forms a connection for children and helps enhance their self-esteem and sense of belonging. Building relationships helps build trust, a sense of safety, love, and inclusion – all vital for optimal learning.
An important component of classroom management is creating an environment that is engaging, promotes movement, and is responsive to the diverse backgrounds and experiences of the children. When carefully designed, the classroom environment can extend and reinforce the California TK curriculum goals and concepts needed to support healthy brain development. 8 Classroom Strategies eGuide
Developmentally Appropriate Practice
It is important to offer learning experiences within the CA Transitional Kindergarten curriculum that are individually appropriate and meaningful to each child. These experiences provide active engagement through play, exploration, and inquiry in a way that supports the whole child – socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively.
Children are more successful when teachers develop a two-way relationship with families. By doing this, teachers can understand the child’s home life and culture while communicating the child’s progress and extending the learning at home. According to the Flamboyan Foundation, “A strong body of research shows that students do better in school and in life when their parents are engaged in their education.”
Research shows that when children attend a California Transitional Kindergarten program, the return on early investments in education is substantial. According to Deborah Stipek, former dean and professor at the Stanford University School of Education, “the cost is paid back many times over in reduced grade retentions, special education services and in lower expenditures for incarceration. Returns also come in the form of increased productivity that results from higher levels of academic achievement and high school completion rates.” The importance of a California Transitional Kindergarten curriculum is clear: it is a win-win for children, families, and schools! Kindergarten Readiness eGuide