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To ease overcrowding in the program at Hancock Park Elementary School, Rosewood Avenue Elementary has recently become a home school for transitional kindergarten (TK), according to principal Linda Kaye-Crowder.
Beginning July 20, parents can enroll their children for the fall semester.
TK is a two-year program that meets the requirements of a California law that in 2010 changed the age requirements for children in kindergarten and first grade. Prior to 2010, if a child turned 5 on or before Dec. 2, he or she must be enrolled in kindergarten. To increase attendance, the bill changed the age requirement to include children turning 5 as early as September.
“Transitional kindergarten is actually a two-year program: Year one is TK and the next is traditional kindergarten,” Kaye-Crowder said. “The idea behind TK is the gift of time. It’s more hands-on. TK is a lot slower and gives time for exploration.”
Children turning 5 between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2 can be enrolled in TK, according to Los Angeles Unified School District executive director of early childhood education Maureen Diekmann.
“What it really means to do is prepare younger children for kindergarten. It provides kindergarten-readiness skills,” Diekmann said.
Diekmann added parents have had different views on the TK program. Some parents embrace the idea of their kids being older when they begin the first grade. Others have a misconception of the TK program being remedial.
Diekmann said most parents agree that the TK program is good in the long run, especially for younger students who end up becoming more social and excel academically.
“I have this conversation often, really often. We talk about how it brings up the confidence of kids later on. When these kids are a little older, they tend to be the leaders,” Diekmann said.
Kaye-Crowder said she has also met with parents who thought the TK program was for children who had to be retained, “rather than looking at the child and saying, ‘This is for the best’.”
One such parent, Betsy Beale, was hesitant at first. She adopted her son Muze, originally from Ethiopia. Kaye-Crowder encouraged her to enroll him in the TK program at the age of 5.
“I wanted to take him into first grade, but she convinced me to enroll him into the program, and it really turned out to be the greatest thing ever,” Beale said.
Muze, now 10, and going into the fourth grade, has been identified by LAUSD as being gifted, Beale said.
“He came to the U.S. and needed to figure out his environment, and now you can see the nurturing he got from that year in TK,” Beale said.
Beale added Muze is at the top of his class. He is very confident, articulate and a good reader, she said.
“I really credit the TK program with that,” Beale said. “That extra year [in TK] will give them so much confidence. Give your child that gift of that extra year. When you sit down and think about it, you have to take your own ego out of it and do what’s best for your child.”
Rosewood Avenue Elementary is located at 503 N. Croft Ave.
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