NUSD Prepares for Transitional Kindergarten Expansion

--- Published on January 25th 2023 ---
News & Alerts
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To Listen to the Conversations with NUSD Podcast Detailing Transitional Kindergarten Expansion, Visit our Podcast Page or search on multiple Podcast platforms – Apple, Spotify, iHeart Radio, and PodBean

From piloting different curricula in the classroom, teacher training sessions, and adding additional Transitional Kindergarten (TK) classes, the Natomas Unified School District (NUSD) is building the foundation it needs to expand its transitional kindergarten classes for 4-year-old students by the 2025-2026 school year. TK is the bridge between preschool and kindergarten. Enrolling a child into TK is optional; however, research has shown that children’s brains rapidly develop more from birth to 5-years-old, according to First Things First; 90-percent of brain growth happens before kindergarten.

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The work underway is necessary in order for NUSD to meet the growing needs of the Natomas community. For the 2022-2023 school year, NUSD added four TK classes at eight of its school sites. Students who turned 5 years old by February 2nd, were able to enroll this school year. This is a change from last year when students had to be 5 years old by December 2nd.

The change is all part of a $2.7 billion California initiative to expand transitional kindergarten to all 4-year-olds by 2025. There will be incremental phases for students to enroll leading up to 2025.

  • 2023-2024, students who turn 5 years old by April 2nd will be able to enroll
  • 2024-2025, students whose 5th birthday lands before June 2nd will be able to enroll
  • 2025-2026 school year, TK will be made available to all 4-year-old children.
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“When transitional kindergarten was first created there was just this small number of students who were able to access TK. Natomas is so excited to be a part of this expansion, and we can’t wait to welcome all 4-year-olds by 2025,” Amanda Garcia, an NUSD Early Learning Coordinator said.

In addition to the expansion, NUSD is piloting new TK curricula to help with the expansion and seeks input from parents, teachers, and students. Those surveys may be found here. “We are piloting new language arts curriculum and discussing new social-emotional curriculum, so we’re really trying to work together to figure out how to best teach our younger learners,” Shawna Milo, a TK teacher said.

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To further prepare for the needs of the TK classroom now and in 2025, teachers have undergone training, and they are incorporating more play-based learning in their classrooms and differentiating lessons for the early learners.

To help prepare young learners for TK, Milo advises parents to engage with their children. “Read to your child. That’s the biggest thing, talk to your child, sing, have fun with them and play games,” Milo said. Milo added that teaching children small, simple tasks will also help them better prepare for the TK class. “Opening their snack, holding a pencil, getting ready to write their name, being able to put on their jacket.”

Natomas Unified’s TK program operates on a full-day schedule and is free to all Natomas-area families. For more information, contact the TK Department at (916) 567-5819 or email [email protected].