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California: Budget Hold Shuts Kids out of Pre-K, Transitional K Kicks Off

More news from California:

According to Western Nevada County's The Union, although the 50 percent budget cut for state pre-K announced last May is now on hold, California's budget limbo is keeping eligible kids out of subsidized day care and preschool. A state Department of Education official is quoted saying Gov. Schwarzenegger may not sign a budget until January, leaving many programs without enough funds to serve all eligible children.

Meanwhile, the kudos are coming in for the state legislature's decision to set the kindergarten cutoff date earlier in the year. I spoke with the mom of a three-year-old in L.A. County last week who said, "Having a child whose birthday is the day before the old cutoff date, I'm thrilled with the change. Sounds good to me to only have 5-year-olds in kindergarten and give September-to-December kids another year to chill."

For those interested in more on what California's transitional kindergarten programs look like, Preschool California, a state nonprofit advocacy group founded in 2003, has the scoop here. Some highlights:

-L.A.'s transition kindergarten pilot will kick off next week in about three dozen schools. Transition kindergartners will have lunch, recess, art, and music with children in regular kindergarten.

-Sacramento City starts an Early Kinder program with 60 students in three elementary schools this fall. The program will bridge from play-based curricula to the academics of kindergarten by incorporating pre-math and pre-literacy activities and materials aligned with elementary school standards.

-Torrance has had "Preppy K" for over 20 years, and children loop with their teacher from Preppy K to regular kindergarten, providing continuity of relationship. Long Beach Unified started Preppy K two years ago.

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