Beginning this school year, a transitional kindergarten program started for children turning five between November 1 and December 2 in 2012. These children, 21 in Burlingame, entered transitional kindergarten instead of a traditional kindergarten classroom.
On Tuesday, the Burlingame Elementary School District Board of Trustees examined how the program is going thus far.
The goal of the program is “to provide young fives the gift of time,” said Assistant Superintendent Jud Kempson, referring to the students who would otherwise turn five much later than their peers.
He said transitional kindergarten acts as a bridge between preschool and kindergarten, providing both social and emotional development and academics aligned with the regular kindergarten standards.
The program in Burlingame takes place at Washington Elementary School and runs from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Melanie LaGory, an educator with 10 years of experience with children at this level, teaches the class. She said she focuses on helping the children self-regulate their emotions and behaviors and linking that to academic achievement.
“It is just so delightful to watch and see these kids becoming so independent,” said Washington Elementary School Principal Julie Eastman.
In October of 2011, Burlingame introduced transitional kindergarten as part of its curriculum, a class required under Senate Bill 1381.
Under the new Kindergarten Readiness Act, children must have turned 5-years-old before Nov. 1 for kindergarten admittance in the 2012-2013 school year. The birthday cut-off will roll back to Oct. 1 for the 2013-2014 school year and finally Sept. 1 for the 2014-2015 school year.
Before solidifying a transitional kindergarten class, the program went from state-mandated to the chopping block, leaving the future uncertain for some young Burlingame students. In February of 2012, the program was confirmed.
Kempson said depending on enrollment, the district will plan for two transitional kindergarten classes next year. After the transitional year, students return to their home school.
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