By Susan Frey
As a result of a new state law, California schools instituted transitional kindergarten to give 4-year-olds who were previously eligible for kindergarten an extra year to adjust to school and experience a less academically-oriented curriculum. But many thousands of those children are in classrooms with kindergartners, leaving teachers to figure out how to accommodate the new approach for 4-year-olds while preparing the 5-year-olds for 1st grade.
In 2013-14, about 57,000 students were estimated to have been in transitional kindergarten, and 78 percent of the classes were combination classes with both kindergartners and transitional kindergartners, according to the most recent data provided by the California Department of Education. An estimated 1,298 classes were stand-alone transitional kindergarten, while 4,674 were mixed classes.