Transitional Kindergarten is a kindergarten program for children not yet age five who do not have access to high-quality early learning experiences prior to kindergarten and have been deemed by a school district, through a screening process and/or other instrument(s), to be in need of additional preparation to be successful in kindergarten the following year. The following “pillars” describe required elements of Transitional Kindergarten.
- Transitional Kindergarten programs meet the requirements of full-day kindergarten established in RCW 28A.150.315, including administration of the WaKIDS whole child assessment, within the first ten weeks.
- Classrooms are staffed by certificated teachers and paraeducators who provide a curriculum that offers a rich, varied set of experiences in learning environments that are developmentally appropriate and address the whole child. It is recommended that teachers have Early Childhood and/or Early Childhood Special Education Endorsements.
- Transitional Kindergarten programs are inclusive, socioeconomically diverse and 3 responsive to the needs of children who qualify for participation.
- Transitional Kindergarten programs are fully integrated into school buildings, with access to transportation, specialists, recess, lunch in the school cafeteria and all aspects of the school day available to regular kindergarten students.
- Transitional Kindergarten programs work in collaboration with and do not adversely impact enrollment in community-based preschool programs, including Head Start, ECEAP (the Early Childhood Education Assistance Program), tribally-led early learning programs and those operating in licensed child care centers and licensed family homes. Districts participate in coordinated outreach, referral and placement to assure best fit and appropriateness of services based on each child and family’s need.