Transitional Kindergarten builds a foundation for student success

Sept. 8, 2022

Inside a bright and colorful classroom at Tukes Valley Primary school, a group of nervous 4- year-olds file in. Their teacher helps them find their photo on a board near the entrance, moving the picture from the “not here” column to “here.” 

teacher with students

Tukes Valley Primary Transitional Kindergarten teacher Gracelyn Crum greets her students

“Is that me?” asks one youngster, pointing to an image on the board. 

“Yes!” the teacher responds with a smile. “Go ahead and move yourself over to ‘here.’”

A classroom assistant then guides the youngster to a seat where they are given a drawing of a bus and some crayons, letting their creative energies out before moving on to the next play-based learning activity.

One of the first things visitors to Gracelyn Crum’s classroom notice is how small her students are. These are Transitional Kindergarten students, part of a new program launched this school year at Tukes Valley, Daybreak, Yacolt and Glenwood Heights primary schools. A total of 72 students are enrolled this year, with the potential to expand in future years.

Transitional Kindergarten, also known as TK, is a no-cost early learning program primarily for 4-year-olds. Students are enrolled based on a pre-screening process to determine their need for additional early learning to prepare them for kindergarten the following year. TK classrooms focus on developmentally appropriate skills and social and emotional development.  

The launch of the Transitional Kindergarten program was made possible through a $40,000 grant and supported by federal pandemic relief funds. Future funding will come through the state based on enrollment. More information about Transitional Kindergarten is available from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Transitional kindergarten classroomResearch shows students who have access to pre-K education receive a significant boost in readiness for kindergarten, displaying higher literacy skills, more advanced math abilities and greater executive functioning skills, such as remembering rules and controlling impulses.

“TK is providing instruction that aims to close the achievement gap among kindergarten students,” said Mike Michaud, the district’s director of instructional leadership for early childhood and primary education. “These students are receiving social-emotional support prior to kindergarten, which helps align with kindergarten readiness.”

In addition to the Right At School program, Transitional Kindergarten also helps to fill a need for childcare services in the Battle Ground school district. The Washington Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) estimates that, as of January, 2022, only 11% of families in the district had access to childcare services

Further information about early childhood learning available through Battle Ground Public Schools is available on the district website.

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