Transitional Kindergarten, or TK, can be defined in different ways depending on your area. Locally, TK is an option for younger five year olds who don’t quite make the birthday cut off for kindergarten OR just need or want another year to figure things out before jumping into the rigor of a kindergarten classroom setting. Our TK class is a mix of younger five year olds and older fours. A few children are attending TK after being in a four year old class at Carson Creek or another preschool. Others are attending TK instead of the fours class. There are no rigid guidelines for placement in our TK class. Our class is very similar to our fours class but with a slightly stronger emphasis on academic skills.
Research by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that children who are older when they start kindergarten are at an advantage over younger classmates. They have higher test scores and are more likely to attend college. However, these statistics are certainly not a deciding factor if you are considering TK vs. Kindergarten for your child.
In North Carolina, children are not required to attend school until the age of 7. Any schooling they receive before kindergarten is icing on the cake. When I was a kindergarten teacher, I taught children who had attended daycare since they were babies and I taught children who had spent the first 5 years of their lives on grandma’s hip, so to speak. Children come to kindergarten from many different backgrounds and with different educational experiences. As many parents know, the expectations for kindergartners have become rigorous. Gone are the days of nap time and dress up and appropriate amounts of free play! Many kindergarten classrooms are operating with one teacher and NO assistant; often, that looks like 17-20 five year olds and ONE stressed out teacher! Many times, the children receive only 30 minutes of free play outside. They attend school all day in NC. We don’t have half-day kindergarten. For some children, kindergarten is a wonderful experience. My younger son had a beautiful kindergarten year at Woodland Heights Elementary with a seasoned, loving, patient teacher. I will be forever grateful for her and the value she placed on developmentally appropriate experiences for her students. My older son realized at the ripe old age of 5 that school is very hard. His self esteem was damaged in kindergarten and we are still recovering. His experience was the catalyst for my quest to provide a developmentally appropriate preschool where children feel loved and honored. The pressure is just too much for many of our children and it is not necessary.
At Carson Creek School, children spend half of their days outside. They learn through play. Each child is treated as an individual with unique needs, interests, and abilities. We focus on the emotional needs of our children and the academics are taught appropriately, depending on the child.
We have a few spots open in our TK class. Schedule a tour if you are interested in learning more!