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FAQ: Transitional Kindergarten (TK) 2024-25

What is Transitional Kindergarten?

  • Transitional Kindergarten is part of the public school system and will be available for children who turn four years old by September 1st. Transitional kindergarten (TK) is the first year of a two-year kindergarten program that uses a developmentally and age-appropriate play-based curriculum. It supports  children's language, literacy, and pre-math skills with an emphasis on social and emotional development. The program blends preschool and readiness standards for kindergarten with a focus on hands-on and experiential learning. Research shows that taking the time for readiness for school can predict success later in the formative years of elementary and secondary education. Getting a strong start is very important.

Who can attend Transitional Kindergarten?

  • With the rollout of California’s Universal TK, enrollment is open and has been expanded at MPCSD. We will be accepting students whose birthdates fall between September 2, 2019-September 1, 2020. 

My child has a birthday that falls within the TK age-eligibility window. Can my child skip TK and enroll directly in Kindergarten? OR My child has a birthday that falls within the Kindergarten age-eligibility window. Can my child delay Kindergarten and enroll in Transitional Kindergarten?

  • MPCSD has an alternative placement process. Students under consideration for non-standard grade placement will be universally screened with research-based language arts, mathematics and fine motor screening tools and measured against the grade level standards to which they are applying. Appointments for screenings will be made upon receipt of the completed readiness survey. Information gathered from the screenings, survey, and observations will inform the recommendation to grant or deny the alternate placement request. 

What will the Transitional Kindergarten program look like for my child?

  • The TK program is taught by credentialed teachers and runs 5 days a week. Hours for the program are half day. TK offers a developmentally appropriate curriculum that allows students to explore, create, and learn through purposeful play based activities. Social emotional, fine motor, and academic skills are all integrated in this hands-on program to build a strong foundation for kindergarten the following year.

How is Transitional Kindergarten different from Kindergarten?

  • TK is a bridge from Preschool to Kindergarten. It does not replace kindergarten.  The TK curriculum provides a bridge for our students between the flexible, exploration based environment of preschool and the more structured academic setting of kindergarten. It promotes each child’s progress in all areas where they develop and practice the social, emotional, and physical skills that support and naturally accompany a child’s intellectual growth.

Transitional Kindergarten Important Information

  • Transitional Kindergarten is defined as "the first year of a two-year kindergarten program that uses a modified kindergarten curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate." (Education Code, Section 48000(d)).

The benefits of a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program:

  • allows for the gift of time for children who would benefit from a two-year program

  • improves social-emotional, physical, language, and cognitive development

  • builds self-esteem and identity as a successful student

  • reduces grade retention and special education placement

  • offers a valuable opportunity to integrate the early learning and elementary systems

  • provides a credentialed teacher for the program

The state of California is allowing individual school districts to create TK programs with standards and curricula that meet the unique needs of their student populations.

What's the difference between Transitional Kindergarten and the Early Learning Center?

This chart is meant to help families decide which program is better for their family.

Early Learning Options in MPCSD chart

When can I sign my child up for Transitional Kindergarten?

  • The 2024-2025 TK registration and enrollment window opens on February  1, 2024. Please register through the Menlo Park City School District Registration Page.

Is there priority registration for TK?

  • No. The district does not offer guaranteed placement in a specific school for TK.

Will there be space for everyone interested in Transitional Kindergarten?

  • Yes. All students whose birthdays fall between September 2, 2019-September 1, 2020 are guaranteed a space in the Transitional Kindergarten Program for the 2024-25 school year.

Is afternoon childcare available for TK students?

  • Newton Center will offer a fee-based after-school care program at each MPCSD TK campus.  Since 2001, Newton Center has offered MPCSD students after-school care.  Currently offered at each elementary school.
  • The program will extend the school day and incorporate MPCSD Curricular Approach and Guiding Principles.
  • Registration for Newton can be found here:
  • Newton Center TK Program Introduction: Newton TK Information Powerpoint

Is TK mandatory?

  • TK is not a mandatory grade. Families with students who are age-eligible for TK have the option to enroll in TK or keep their child in preschool. 

Do children in universal TK have to meet the same vaccination requirements as in regular kindergarten? 

What if I have more questions?

  • For more information on new student registration, you may contact Kirstin Freitas <>.

  • For more information on the TK program, please contact your neighborhood elementary school.

  • Additional information regarding Transitional Kindergarten can be found in Education Code Section 48000.

  • We held an MPCSD Transitional Kindergarten Orientation on January 11, 2023, If you would like to watch that presentation, here is the recording and the passcode: dx?^mxL9