Something has been weighing on my teacher heart lately. You may or may not be aware, but I teach a combination class for transitional kindergarten and kindergarten students. If you don’t know what Transitional Kindergarten is, it is a 2-year program designed for students who start public schooling at the age of four and will turn five during the fall. Their birth dates must fall between September 2 and December 2. Elizabeth from Kickin’ It In Kindergarten has a great blog post all about TK here.
A few weeks ago our school held their annual Kindergarten Orientation for incoming transitional kindergarten and kindergarten parents. There were a handful of incoming transitional kindergarten parents (probably about five or so), that did not understand the need for their child to be in transitional kindergarten. They expressed their concerns by stating that their child already knows many of the skills that would be taught during Transitional Kindergarten. As a parent I could see being hesitant, this is your baby and I know you are worried about how they will adjust to being in school. I understand, my own baby is going into TK in the fall. However, let me assure you that the choice to enroll your child into a TK program is an excellent choice. Let me tell you why. Here are the five reasons why you should enroll your child into a transitional kindergarten class.
Socialization. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Your child will learn how to interact with their peers in a true classroom environment. They will learn how to follow school and classroom rules, AND more importantly learn the structures and routines of a classroom.
Your child will learn to read. Over the course of the year we will learn the letters of the alphabet and their sounds, but we will also learn sight words and how to decode words. I’m so proud to say that in the last couple of years the majority of my kiddos could read DRA level 2’s and higher fluently! It is wonderful to see the joy on their little faces when they know that they are reading! I can confidently say that because of TK, these students have a strong foundation as early readers going into kindergarten.
Your child will learn to write. Not only will your child learn how to form letters and numbers, but they will learn to write sentences! Many of my TK students could independently write 1-3 simple sentences by the end of the year! Many students were successful with our district opinion writing prompt at the end of the year as well.
Your child will have a strong foundation in mathematics. It is amazing to see the strong number sense foundation that my TK’s students exhibit. They are truly grasping ten frames, tally marks, addition, subtraction with numbers 1-10.
Your child’s fine motor skills will improve. Students in my classroom have multiple opportunities to work with small manipulatives, blocks, and play dough to assist with strengthening their hand muscles. They also have constant opportunities to use scissors and glue to create art projects.
If your child is lucky enough to qualify to attend a Transitional Kindergarten program–I don’t think that you will regret enrolling them! I should also mention that all of my students are exposed to the common core kindergarten standards, but I do not expect mastery of these standards. I for one am very excited to see the amazing academic potential of my former students, and as a parent of an incoming Transitional Kindergartner I want her to have a strong educational foundation for the future. Wouldn’t you want this for your Transitional Kindergartner as well?