TK Vs Kindergarten

Updated on July 25, 2014
K.J. asks from Ontario, CA
14 answers

My daughter turns 5 Sept 12 and misses kindergarten cut off. So she has to go to transitional kindergarten. The problem is that she already completed a pre-k program and she is reading. Each school can decide if they want to test the child or not. If your child attended TK did you like the curriculum? Was it too easy? Did anyone's child go to pre-k then to tk? Looking for information to make an informed decision.
I am not interested in her being the oldest kid in the class she is very bright just trying to make a decision as the school I would like her to go to she must start in kindergarten and they do not test so she will have to wait till next year to attend.
My question is really about the curriculum I know she is mature enough and her pre-k teacher thinks so as well. If she goes to kindergarten this year she will miss out on the other opportunities for better schools. My dilemma is I don't want her to miss out on those opportunities but I do not want her to repeat the curriculum either. She is the best reader in her pre-k class and plays the piano and reads music. She was the youngest person to perform in her summer recital. I don't want class to be too easy and I don't want her to be at a school that I rather she not attend. Does anyone have any experience with the TK curriculum?

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So What Happened?

Thanks to everyone for your comments and support. Unfortunately the decisions was made for me as none of the after school programs enroll to or kindergarten students my daughter will have to stay at her current school. Her private school has decided that she should be in kindergarten with all of the other kids that were in her pre-k class.

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answers from Las Vegas on

My son was in the same boat last year (Sept 4 birthday), except we don't have TK. He did a second year of preschool last year (super bored though), and luckily got into a very challenging school through the lottery, the only public school that is full day in my area. He would be bored out of his mind if he had to go to normal half day kindergarten this year as an almost 6 year old, but at his kindergarten assessment at the beginning of the summer, his school said he should work on 1st grade workbooks over the summer to be ready for kindergarten, so I know he will be challenged if they are at that level. I think his kindergarten experience this year will be perfect for him, but only because of the specific school he is going to. If the school you want to go in is a better school and will challenge her more overall, it isn't a bad idea to put her in TK and go to a better kindergarten next year that will still challenge her.

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answers from New York on

I would look at her maturity level. How does she do socially? These are big IMO. If she is mature and gets along socially, you could have her tested. What is your gut telling you? It usually is right.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Being "bright" is only a tiny part of life. Good luck

6 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Just keep in mind that academics (cognitive development) is only one of four areas they look at. The other three are physical, social and emotional maturity.
She can be the brightest girl in the class but unless she is on par with her peers physically, socially and emotionally she will struggle in school.
Just something to think about, and discuss with her pre K teacher (was this not brought up at her end of year conference/evaluation?)

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answers from Norfolk on

My sister started kindergarten when she was 4 (turned 5 in Oct).
Academically she did all right.
But she cried over everything.
She was very immature and a major crowd follower.
Think about what having a peer group that's a bit older than you means.
I think waiting another year would have done her a lot of good.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Our daughter was always one of the youngest in her classes, but she still graduated with honors. She was 17. She was accepted to all 9 of the colleges she applied to and had just turned 18 when we dropped her off as college, over 2500 miles away from home.

She is an only child. Taught herself how to read. Was very mature. She did just fine.

If she had not gone to kinder when she did, she would have been bored the next year.

Follow your mommy heart and brain and then no regrets.

I wanted to add, My husband and I had worked full time, so she had attended day care and pre k full time I think that also made a huge difference. She was used to going to school all day.

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answers from Springfield on

My son did two years of preschool then TK before going into kindergarten. He actually did meet the cutoff, but we knew he wasn't ready.

He did learn new things during TK and in kindergarten. There was some repetition, but we knew that would happen. He handled it just fine, as there were many exciting things going on and many new friends.

I would base your decision less on academics and more on her maturity level. Does she fit in with her peers from PreK, or does it often seem obvious that she is the youngest? Our son was academically ready for kindergarten, but we knew he wasn't ready. It was very obvious to us that he was the youngest in the class, and now that we see him a grade later than he could have been we know that these are his true peers and this is where he belongs.

Good luck! These decisions are not always as cut and dry as we would like them to be :-)

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answers from Detroit on

I would have her go to pre-school again.
There are kids in my child's kindergarten class reading at a second grade level. The curriculum is difficult. My daughter came in reading but it's not easy. Every day is a challenge. They expect so much these days.

My son is doing kindergarten this year at a private school and then kindergarten again at public. Kindergarten is tough!

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answers from Los Angeles on

In my school district, TK and K have the exact same curriculum. They are not separate classes. The only difference is that, at the end of the year, the teacher may recommend that the child now take K, if they are not ready for 1st.

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answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter will attend TK in 2015-16, so I don't know all the specifics, however, I have learned a decent amount about the TK program at our school (we're in Irvine, so also a CA school). The program is really a bridge between preschool and kinder. They have academic portions of the day where they are learning letters and numbers. They have music, library, computer lab and PE on a weekly basis, just like the other primary grades at the school. But, they also have free play time in the classroom - there is a play kitchen, dress up, blocks, etc that the kinder classes don't have. Our school still has TK and kinder on a half day schedule, so the day is only 3.5 hours.

Your daughter certainly sounds ready for kindergarten. Honestly, she's probably ready for 1st grade. My son (a May bday, so he went to kinder when he was 5) was also reading in preschool, so he really didn't learn much in kinder at all. He learned a lot of things like social studies and science, but the reading and math he had pretty much already figured out himself.

You're in a tough spot since you have a certain school you want to attend and kinder isn't an option there this year. Academically, your daughter would be better off going to kinder now if you can find a program you like.

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answers from Detroit on

I have had 2 kids go through kinder.. I noticed that you can absolutely tell who the young kids are in the class.. they cant color as well.. they cant write as well.. they are just immature and younger..

because her bday is so close to the cutoff she will either be the oldest or the youngest in her class... it is far better to be the oldest and the most mature.. this is for the rest of her school career.. if she starts kinder at just 5.. she will also graduate from high school young.. drive after all of her friends drive.. date after all of her friends date.. do not think just kindergarten.. think of her going off ot college.. before she turns 18...
this is a lifetime choice..


answers from Washington DC on

ETA: looks like you edited your post while I was thanks! TK you are referring to is transitional kindergarten..whew!

Do you mean Transitional Kindergarten? Is that what you mean by TK?

Sorry. All of my kids started Kindergarten at age 5. No need for delays.

Your best bet for answers for YOUR schools TK curriculum? is to call the school and ask to meet with the teachers and look/review the curriculum.

Good luck!



answers from Los Angeles on

My son has a late birthday, December 21, so he missed the cutoff for both, however his preschool teacher wanted him to be tested once he turned 5 because she said he was ready to move on. So we had him tested and he tested in to TK and started in January of this year. It was almost exactly like kindergarten, and very challenging at times. He reads, writes, etc. very well now, and will be well prepared for Kindergarten in September if not ahead of the other kindergartners. I would recommend it to anyone if not for anything else but to give your child the best chance of being successful in Kindergarten and the fact that it will be challenging compared to Pre-K. Good luck whatever you decide.



answers from Los Angeles on

My daughter is Nov. 8 and missed by 6 days. I fought the school to get her in K and they said no. TK it was. So we went. She learned a lot. She did amazing. Was it challenging enough? Probably not. She went in for her Kinder rediness test and literally missed only 1 question. At the end of the year there were rumors the tk kids might be tested to see if they could go straight to first. I asked the teacher and she said it was an individual decision. So I said I wanted her tested. She gave me a little push back (not mean at all just providing her expertise). I expressed I wanted to make an informed decision. So she was tested. many steps involved. We had the evaluation with the principal and found that anything factually based (you know your ABCs or not, etc) she nailed. Some she was taught some she was not. But anything conceptionally based that she had not been taught she struggled with. Those concepts were major foundations of education and learning and should not be missed. We decided to stick with K BUT we had a packet of info to go over with her Kinder teacher so she could give her more work and challenge her more. Which we did. She excelled at kinder. She was the first in her class at so many things. Moving into this year she is supposed to be in 1st grade. Her teacher asked if she could be put in an advanced 1st/2nd combo next year. I said YES! We are not certain if she is in it yet but will find out soon.

My concerns with the TK were that these kids would be 1/2 a year ahead and in sort of a limbo phase. To keep them challenged you will need to develop great relationship with their teachers to keep pushing them so they do not become bored. I wonder if I could have hired a tutor after tk to get her ready for 1st over the summer. It crosses my mind but at the same time I am ok I didnt because she should still be a kid.

If I would have known then what I know now I would have been pushing the TK teacher to get her ready for first. I didn't really know if it would be an option or not and now I understand that it could have been. I am ok with where we are at though because our schools are very aware of the TK situation and understand that if there are kids that are more advanced they need to still be challenged. We can always explore the option of skipping a grade when she is a little older.

And the idea of my child being "gifted" is not something I think about. It did come up over the process by the administrators. Sure she could be. But at this point I just think of her as being ahead. She is just further along.

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