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Kindergarten is an important step in a child’s academic career. In Kindergarten, children learn important social and academic skills.
These skills include:
- Learning to play, share, and cooperate with others
- Learning effective and acceptable communication skills
- Learning self-awareness and acceptable behavior
- Meeting academic milestones such as learning to read, write and count
Children learn through fun activities including:
- Art activities such as coloring, painting, and collage
- Math activities, including those that involve counting, numbers, and shapes
- Language activities, including reading and writing
- Nature and science activities
In California, full-day kindergarten is not mandatory. But many districts offer full-day kindergarten classes. In those districts, families can choose half-day or full-day kindergarten.
The benefits of full-day kindergarten may include:
- More time for the child in a structured environment
- More time to build social, emotional, physical and academic skills
- Free child care for families
- Easier transition for children who were already in full-day Pre-K programs
- Easier scheduling for families who also have children in higher grades
Some children may not do as well in full-day kindergarten. This includes children who are younger or more energetic than their peers.
School districts decide how long the kindergarten day should be. This includes half-day kindergarten. In California, half-day kindergarten classes are no longer than four hours. Some districts offer a choice of morning or afternoon kindergarten.
Transitional Kindergarten (TK) is a special extra year of kindergarten that is specifically designed for students who turn 5 between September 2 and December 2. In TK, students learn many kindergarten lessons. Teachers adjust lessons for younger students. In some cases, children can attend TK even if they meet kindergarten age requirements. Parents who believe their child would enjoy TK can contact their school district to see if this is an option.
In California, children who are 5 years old on or before September 1 of the academic school year can enroll in kindergarten. Children who turn 5 years old between September 2 and December 2 can enroll in TK. Children who turn 5 after December 2 must wait until the following school year to enroll. Kindergarten is not mandatory, but if students are not ready for first grade, they may enroll in kindergarten instead. 6 year-olds are required to be in school.