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Universal Transitional Kindergarten in California

Universal Transitional Kindergarten in California

With the approval of the Kindergarten Readiness Act in 2010, transitional kindergarten became available for 4-year-olds who turned 5 between the dates of Sept. 2 to Dec. 2. While this shift in legislation provided support for this identified group of students, it did not include public learning opportunities for younger learners who no longer qualified for public preschool due to their age and who were not yet old enough to enroll in a transitional kindergarten or kindergarten classroom. 

California Assembly Bill (AB) 130 (2021-22) established an early learning initiative to expand access to classroom-based prekindergarten programs offered by school districts, county offices of education, or charter schools. With the passage of AB 130 in Section 22, the TK-12 education trailer bill, legislation outlined funding for a universal preschool program that would be available to every 4-year-old regardless of income. Universal transitional kindergarten (UTK) may begin in fall 2022 for some local educational agencies (LEAs).  

To support these efforts, California has provided funding through the PreKindergarten Planning and Implementation Grant. LEA plans on how the funds will be utilized must be board-approved by June 30, 2022. 

UTK envisions equitable access and programs for 4-year-olds regardless of income. Research shows that children are more successful in school and beyond if they are given a strong foundation in the earliest years of their lives. In addition, high-quality teaching and learning programs can support brain development. California is on the forefront of this change, dedicating billions of dollars to plan and equip our schools with quality teachers and updated facilities to support our youngest learners in equitable ways. The effort aims to provide students with learning opportunities that will support and guide them as they enter into the K-12 arena. 


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