Welcome to the first big milestone in your child’s academic journey!

Did you know? 4-year-olds are now eligible for TK!*

Entering TK and Kindergarten is a big step for families. We understand how important it is to make sure your child is set up to succeed. In Downey Unified, our goal is simple. We want to spark an interest in education that will last your child a lifetime!

Downey Unified’s full-day TK and Kindergarten classes foster an environment that provides abundant opportunities for play while also helping students develop their passion for learning.

Check out our video to get a glimpse of what a day in the classroom looks like for a Kindergartener.

What is Transitional Kindergarten?

Transitional Kindergarten (TK) is a grade that serves as a bridge between preschool and kindergarten, providing students with late birthdays the “gift of time” to develop fundamental skills needed for success in school in an age and developmentally appropriate setting.

TK differs from preschool in that transitional kindergarten teachers in California must meet the credential requirements to teach kindergarten, while preschools may not have the same requirements. Additionally, transitional kindergarten is free of cost.

TK vs. K

Teachers Answer Your Questions

What do kids learn in TK/Kinder?

What does my child need to know?

What can I do at home to prepare?

Downey Unified TK students learn…

…to solve problems.

…to be independent.

…to share and take turns.

…to explore the world around us.

…that school and learning are fun.

Our Kindergarteners learn…

…letters, sounds and how to read real books.

…how to hold a pencil, write letters and words to make sentences.

…to use technology to express their opinions, write stories and create books using apps on iPads.

…how to count numbers and why counting helps us in our everyday lives.

…to understand what a number means and how to put two numbers together.

Downey Unified students are readers, writers, mathematicians, thinkers, artists, scientists, helpers, and friends.

Samples of Work

Using Apps to Learn

Our Kindergarten students use Poplet, an app, to organize and show their thinking in a creative and visual way. They then publish their creations on Seesaw for teachers and peers.  This digital “classroom” allows them to share and comment on their classmates work in an easy-to-use platform.

Creative Digital Projects

PicCollege is used by kindergarten and first-grade students to creatively showcase their comprehension of different content. Student can create their own unique visuals with pictures and text and share them with their class through Seesaw.

Interactive Learning

Kindergarten students use letter manipulatives (magnetic letters) to build words to help them in their process of learning to read.  This process is a great teaching tool in helping students build literacy, giving them a way to interact with the alphabet through hands-on activities.

Counting Concepts

Counting collections give children the opportunity to make sense of concepts and practice counting in a real context. Kindergarten students are given a collection of objects to count to assist them in understanding mathematics. This activity can be used for many different mathematical purposes, such as number names, the order of numbers, one-to-one correspondence, name-symbol relation, and base 10 structure. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Transitional Kindergarten?

Transitional Kindergarten is the first year of a two-year kindergarten program that uses a modified kindergarten curriculum that is age and developmentally appropriate.

Are children required to attend Transitional Kindergarten?

No. Transitional Kindergarten, or regular Kindergarten for that matter, is not mandatory in California. It is up to parents to decide whether to enroll their children in preschool or transitional kindergarten.

*How old does my child need to be to be enrolled?


Kindergarten students must be 5 years old before September 2, 2024.

Transitional Kindergarten

Transitional Kindergarten is designed for students who turn 5 years old on or after September 2, 2024, and before June 2, 2025. Students with birthdays after June 2, 2025, should call us for more options.

For students who have not participated in Kindergarten or First Grade programs prior to 2024–2025
Birthdate Criteria Grade Level
Born after 06/02/20 Not eligible for enrollment
09/02/19 – 06/02/20  Transitional Kindergarten
09/02/18 – 09/01/19  Kindergarten
09/02/17 – 09/01/18  1
For students who have participated in K-12 programs prior to 2024–2025
Birthdate Criteria Grade Level
09/02/17 – 09/01/18  1
09/02/16 – 09/01/17  2
09/02/15 – 09/01/16   3
09/02/14 – 09/01/15 4
10/02/13 – 09/01/14 5
11/02/12 – 10/01/13 6
12/02/11 – 11/01/12 7
12/02/10 – 12/01/11 8
12/02/09 – 12/01/10 9
12/02/08 – 12/01/09 10
12/02/07 – 12/01/08 11
12/02/06 – 12/01/07 12

Is Transitional Kindergarten free?

Yes. Transitional Kindergarten is a part of California’s K-12 public school system and children can attend at no cost.

Do children in Transitional Kindergarten have to meet the same vaccination requirements as in regular kindergarten?

Does the Transitional Kindergarten teacher need a teaching credential?

The teacher must be properly credentialed as is currently required of kindergarten teachers.

Contact Us

Still have questions?

Feel free to contact us by filling out the form, call or email. We’re happy to help.
(562) 469-6553

Ready to Enroll?