What is TK (transitional kindergarten)?
TK: TK is the first year of a two-year kindergarten program. TK Standards can be found here: https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/gs/em/documents/tkguide.pdf. Each child is taught within a group based on the group.
Our program: Our program is similar to TK and is the year prior to kindergarten. Our kindergarten preparation program is age based and is focused on how a child learns at each stage of brain development. Learning at 3 years of age, and especially 4 or 5 years of age is very different. We have a three-part play-based, child-centered program consisting of: Early preschool, Preschool, and TK. Our program is centered on the same research taught at Chaffey College in Early Childhood Development curriculum that supports children’s cognitive, language, creative, physical, social, and emotional growth.
What are the classroom ratios?
TK: Classroom ratios are 1:12 with a maximum of 24 children. If 24 children are present only ONE of the two teachers must be qualified.
Our program: Classrooms are age based. There are 2 qualified teachers at all times. In addition, our preschool program has a child/teacher ratio of 15:2. All teachers have always needed the required ECE units.
Who is overseeing the program?
TK: California Department of Education/School District
Our program: Regulated by the Department of Social Services for health and safety regulations (law). Annual inspections are conducted and there are strict supervision regulations. Children may not be left unattended/unsupervised at any time. The restrooms are located in the classrooms and have direct supervision.
Do the children nap?
TK: No rest period is offered.
Our program: Napping is not required but rest periods are required by law. Children are offered a quiet center within the classroom and activities that promote a quieter sense if a rest period is needed by the child.
Are milestone development assessments conducted for screening any delays?
TK: No, parent concerns have to be formally requested for assessment.
Our program: Communication is essential and open conversation is welcome at any time. Parent/Teacher conferences are held twice per year. These conferences are to inform you about your child’s progress regarding socialization skills, following directions, and confidence in the classroom setting. Your preschoolers are adjusting and learning to be part of a community.
“Why are conferences important? Regular screening provides a fast and helpful look at how your child is doing in important areas like communication, social skills, motor skills, and problem-solving skills. Screening can identify your child’s strengths, uncover new milestones to celebrate, and reveal any areas where your child may need support. It helps you understand your child’s development and know what to look for next. And it helps you work with doctors and educators to plan next steps when it makes the most difference—your child’s critical first years of life.”
Do you have outside/recess time?
TK: Yes, limited to required instructional minutes. This limits the amount of time children can be outside, running, jumping, climbing, etc. A majority of a public-school TK students’ day is spent indoors sitting.
Our program: There are no limitations to physical gross motor skill development. These skills are critical to early childhood development. According to Michigan State University, “These types of movements are important for young children to practice as they develop because they help children learn how to coordinate and control their body movements. Gross motor skills also help lay the foundation to be able to complete fine motor skill movement such as pinching or grasping.” Gross motor helps in the long run to develop fine motor, this will help develop skills such as writing.
Does my child have to be potty trained?
TK: Potty training is subject to the district’s decision.
Our program: Yes, but we work with the family to help further the advancement of potty training.
What is the curriculum like?
TK: Standardized curriculum https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/gs/em/documents/tkguide.pdf
Our program: Themed, child-directed, play-based curriculum. The curriculum is tailored and individualized for the child’s level. The curriculum is delivered through units of study, which are theme-based topics that provide a balance of activities using commonly recognized developmental domains.
Three through five years: an overview
During the preschool years, your child will be incredibly busy. Cutting, pasting, painting, and singing are all daily activities. When your child starts kindergarten around age five, make sure home and childcare activities include learning numbers, letters, and simple directions.
When looking for quality care for your preschooler, consider:
Are there other children the same age or close in age to your child?
Is there space for climbing, running, and jumping?
Are there books and learning activities to prepare your child for school?
Is television and movie watching selective?
Are learning materials and teaching styles age-appropriate and respectful of children’s cultural and ethnic heritage?
Are caregivers experienced and trained in early childhood development?
Are children given choices to do and learn things for themselves?
Are children rushed to complete activities or tasks?
Or are they given enough time to work at their own pace?
What I’m Like: Watch out! I am charged with physical energy. I do things on my own terms. My mind is a sponge. Reading and socializing are essential in getting me ready for school. I like to pretend a lot and enjoy scribbling on everything. I am full of questions, many of which are “Why?” I become fairly reliable about using the potty. I may stay dry at night and may not. Playing and trying new things out are how I learn. Sometimes I like to share. I begin to listen more and begin to understand how to solve problems for myself.
What I Need: I want to know about everything and understand words, and when encouraged, I will use words instead of grabbing, crying, or pushing. Play with me, sing to me, and let’s pretend!
What I’m Like: I’m in an active stage, running, hopping, jumping, and climbing. I love to question “Why?” and “How?” I’m interested in numbers and the world around me. I enjoy playing with my friends. I like to be creative with my drawings, and I may like my pictures to be different from everyone else’s. I’m curious about “sleepovers” but am not sure if I’m ready yet. I may want to be just like my older sister or brother. I am proud that I am so BIG now!
What I Need: I need to explore, to try out, and to test limits. Giving me room to grow doesn’t mean letting me do everything. I need reasonable limits set for my own protection and for others. Let me know clearly what is or isn’t to be expected. I need to learn to give and take and play well with others. I need to be read to, talked to, and listened to. I need to be given choices and to learn things in my own way. Label objects and describe what’s happening to me so I can learn new words and things.
What I’m Like: I’m slowing a little in growth. I have good motor control, but my small muscles aren’t as developed as my large muscles for jumping. My activity level is high and my play has direction. I like writing my name, drawing pictures, making projects, and going to the library. I’m more interested now in doing group activities, sharing things and my feelings. I like quiet time away from the other kids from time to time. I may be anxious to begin kindergarten.
What I Need: I need the opportunity for plenty of active play. I need to do things for myself. I like to have choices in how I learn new things. But most of all, I need your love and assurance that I’m important. I need time, patience, understanding, and genuine attention. I am learning about who I am and how I fit in with others. I need to know how I am doing in a positive way. I understand more about things and how they work, so you can give me a more detailed answer. I have a big imagination and pretend a lot. Although I’m becoming taller, your lap is still one of my favorite places.