According to the California Education Code, transitional Kindergarten is defined as “the first year of a two-year kindergarten program that uses a modified kindergarten curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate.”
Traditional kindergarten, in contrast, is a one-year program with grade-specific curriculum.
In some states, Transitional Kindergarten gives children an opportunity to begin Kindergarten, even if they are not yet old enough for Traditional kindergarten.
These students are usually five years old (or will be in a month or two), but their birthdays fall before the age entry cut-off.
So Transitional Kindergarten is not designed to be a preschool program. Instead, it provides students with year one of a two-year kindergarten program.
Here are just a few of the reasons these lessons work so well for young students:
Common Core Lessons
The lessons are age appropriate and sequential and focus on the Common Core State Standards.
Each lesson has a specific Common Core Objective.
The unique spiraling process means students are not expected to master concepts the first time they are introduced.
Rather, concepts spiral back into Guided Practice and Homework before they appear on assessments.
Exercises are provided after every five days of lessons.
They are designed to be fun to do and to reinforce the Common Core concepts the students are learning.
Exercises might include coloring by number, following a maze, tracing a path through a number grid, counting by tens in teams, comparing attributes of shapes, finding shapes in the classroom, sorting objects of different lengths, and much more.
Manipulatives are included on the Excel Math Student Lesson Sheets, in the back of the Teacher Edition and online.
Some manipulatives are reproducible masters that the students can use to make 3-D objects, picture cards to sort and classify, visuals and counters to cut apart for math story problems, and lots more.
Using these masters, students begin to add and subtract using Ten Frames, create composite shapes with smaller shapes, form patterns, count objects, decompose numbers, and play math games.
Activities are included every 6-10 lessons.
These hands-on mini-lessons may reinforce a concept taught a few days before or teach something that is not easily communicated with pencil and paper work.
Activities often involve students moving out of their seats or creating things from craft supplies.
Students may finger paint, use a sand table, create numbers using yarn or clay, act out a word problem, play a math game, pour water into containers, and measure objects in the classroom with non-standard units of measure.