SAN DIEGO – Universal transitional kindergarten or TK as it is known in English is growing in California.
The state that pioneered the program made a huge investment in free early childhood education. Universal “TK” is considered a bridge between preschool and kindergarten.
The free universal public program is seen as a way for more families to have access to early childhood education.
Today, the universal program affects some private early childhood education centers.
“We’ve gone through a lot of changes in introducing TK to the public, which I fully support and appreciate, but it presents a challenge for a company,” said Scripps Exploring Academy Director Christine Collins.
With the rise of free education, parents who want a private early childhood education option may struggle to find one in the future.
“Families don’t need us to provide education to our older students, it’s like kindergarten. Kindergarten used to be voluntary and now everyone goes, that’s automatic,” said Collins.
The impact is already being felt.
“For example, before the launch of universal TK, I had two classes of 48 children preparing for kindergarten and then a couple of years ago I was 36 and last year I was 24 and this year I am 24 ,” Collins said. . .
There is a continuing shortage of teachers across the country. Many teachers have left the private workforce to work in Universal TK, exacerbating the teacher shortage.
Some early childhood education centers accept younger children to ease the financial hit on parents switching to universal public pre-K.
“I predict that within a few years, a decade, at least, all 4-year-olds will go ahead and enter the free program,” Collins said.