Enrollment & Registration
It is currently optional for parents and guardians to decide whether they wish to enroll their children in kindergarten and TK (EC Section 48200).1 Parents are not required to enroll their children in school until first grade. It is, however, required for "each elementary or unified school district to offer transitional kindergarten and kindergarten classes for all children eligible to attend," according to the California Department of Education TK FAQ.
Districts generally begin recruitment for TK when they begin their outreach for kindergarten enrollment. As TK is relatively new in many communities, some districts are working with media and community partners to ensure that information reaches families in the area. For more information on communications, please see the Communications section.
Enrollment packets for TK generally include information similar to that of kindergarten, and are augmented with materials such as:
- parent recruitment letter;2
- TK brochure; 3
- TK enrollment form;
- information on the difference between TK and K; and
- an expanded home survey that helps TK teachers learn more about each child and the assets of the family.
Kindergarten Continuance Form
When TK was first being phased in, many districts opted to offer TK for all children who turned 5 between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2 from the outset. This approach required the use of the continuance form to comply with ADA funding requirements. Beginning in 2014, no continuance form is required for children born between Sept. 1 and Dec. 2.
While the Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010 established transitional kindergarten for children with fall birthdays, there are cases where school districts and parents agree that even though the child is age-eligible for kindergarten, TK is the best placement for them. The use of a continuance form is required for these 5 year old children to enroll in transitional kindergarten on a case-by-case basis.
If the continuance form is needed, parents generally sign the form at the beginning of the year as part of the enrollment process. See sample Kindergarten Continuance Forms in English and other languages.
Reporting TK in CALPADS
Beginning the 2013-2014 school year, the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) requires student participation in TK to be reported. Districts should connect with their Information Technology staff to be sure the data system is properly recording students in TK. As with all public school students in California, each transitional kindergarten student will be assigned a unique identifier, or SSID, which will allow California to track data and progress as students grow. If you are reporting student participation, TK students will be designated as the following code sets:
- Grade Level: Kindergarten
- Education Program: Transitional Kindergarten (code: 185)
As school districts implement the use of the TK identifier, the state will be able to track the impact that TK has on student outcomes.
1 California Department of Education. (2012). Transitional Kindergarten FAQ.
2 Preschool California (2011), Transitional Kindergarten Parent Outreach Toolkit: Parent Recruitment Letter, p.16.
3 Preschool California (2011), Transitional Kindergarten Parent Outreach Toolkit: TK brochure, p.18.