Super Two, What To Do?

Waiting For Kindergarten

I get that it’s stressful being a parent and naturally we all want the best for our children, especially when it comes to nurturing their potential and wanting to make the very best school decision we can for them. But every now and then I get a question thrown at me that warrants a longer discussion. This is not a new question. Actually, it’s one I hear more often than you think. So, for all you parents of brilliant two year-olds, this one’s for you!

Q. “I have a 2 1/2 year old daughter. Growing up in the shadow of her older brother (just turned 6), my daughter is leaping ahead of her peer group, and is super smart to boot. Because she was born in January, she will not be eligible to start Kindergarten until 2015. Having already spent 8 months in preschool, I can’t imagine keeping her there for 3 more years. Would you be able to advise me on getting her a permit for early admission into Kindergarten (I am hoping for a 2014 admission). I am looking to find out what I have to do and who I have to talk to in order to petition for early admission. Looking forward to hearing from you!”

A. Thanks for writing to me. While I can appreciate your concern and best intentions as a parent, it is still WAY too early to do anything about an early admission for your daughter as far as public elementary school goes. Age cut-offs are a matter of state law, not individual school districts, or even individual public schools.
That being said, my advice to you is to get her into a great preschool program (which might mean moving her if the current one is not providing enough depth and exploration), monitor her progress with her teachers, and when she is 4 years old, re-assess the situation and start to make plans. This might include:
1. Enrolling her in a 2-year Kindergarten sometimes called a DK – or Developmental Kindergarten when she is 4. Many charters offer this.
2. Speak to the principal where you son is enrolled to see if you can petition/appeal to have her admitted early (this is rarely done these days due to state law mandates but not impossible.) Just know that if you ask an elementary school principal about a 2 1/2 yr-old they most likely will not take you seriously so wait another year and a half before you approach the situation.
3. Look into Montessori schools that allow children to work at their own pace (some go up into grade school and beyond), or
4. Consider private schools for her as they are more flexible on the age cut-off as they have the flexibility to determine their own internal age cut-offs.
5. At 4 you could also consider whether or not to have her tested to see if she qualifies for a gifted program.
Mainly, the age you should begin this process in earnest is when she is 4, not 2 1/2.
Dialog at this point should be between you and her preschool teachers. A good preschool will support and stimulate all kinds of development beyond what we typically think of as “academic” learning.
Ideally, a quality preschool is a place where your child can experience group work, team work, a solid sense of self, learning to express oneself but also being mindful within the context of the group, fine-motor skills, ability to focus and stay on task for longer periods of time, social-emotional development, including making, developing and sustaining friendships, discovering connections to each other, their environment, their world, stimulating curiosity, problem-solving, conflict-resolution, inquiry, exploring possibilities, creativity and creation, and drawing conclusions. While not exactly “academic,” these are developmental skills that will build the foundation to serve her throughout her life.
I know we all mean well, and it’s hard to be patient and watch our budding child unfurl in real-time as opposed to projecting various scenarios on them in fast-forward, but truly these are magical times right here, right now. Enjoy them for what they are, as, coming from a mother of a nearly Middle-Schooler, they surely are fleeting.
I told another stressed-out mom of a 2 year-old in my seminar last night, “This is a good time to survey the land, get a sense of what your elementary school options are, and get informed, but really, there’s nothing you can do about it yet, so relax. Have a glass of wine. Know it’s all going to be OK.”
Sending love out to all you parents…

Five by When? Ramping Into The Kindergarten Readiness Act

by Tanya Anton |

This topic has come up several times this week at my talks, plus it was also an “Ask Tanya” question on my FB page (thanks Susan!) so it begs to be outlined again.

New Kindergarten Age Requirements

With the passing of Senate Bill 1381, also known as The Kindergarten Readiness Act of 2010, the Kindergarten age cut-off will be changing over a three year period beginning next fall. Currently a child must turn 5 by December 2 in order to be eligible to enter Kindergarten that year.

Beginning in 2012, to enter Kindergarten a child must turn
5 by November 1, then
5 by October 1 for 2013, and finally
5 by September 1 for 2014 and all subsequent years.

This will line California up with the majority of other states across the country.

Transitional Kindergarten

What this also means is that while we transition to the earlier cut-off, there may be current preschoolers with fall birthdays who will just miss the new age cutoff by a few weeks, catching parents by surprise. For those children impacted by these changes, you will have the option of staying another year at your preschool, finding a school that offers a Developmental Kindergarten or DK (some charters and private schools offer this, sometimes it’s called “Preppy K”), or enroll your child in one of the LAUSD Transitional Kindergartens or TK programs established by the new law. There are about 38 schools piloting a TK program this year at various school sites across LAUSD. It is expected that the number of TK programs will jump to 100 in 2012, and swell to more than 500 by 2014, the year of full implementation.

The TK program is designed to offer Kindergarten content at a slower-pace for those children with late summer, early fall birthdays who, for a variety of reasons, are ready to go to school but who might not be ready for the full-paced curriculum of a traditional kindergarten. It will support a foundation of successful learning and offer preparation for Kindergarten. Giving children the “gift of time” in a two-year Kinder program allows the child another year to mature socio-emotionally, physically, developmentally and ease into the rigors of today’s Kindergarten expectations.

Schools opt to pilot a TK program if there is demand and adequate staff. Being a new program and managed site by site, much is yet to be determined regarding the overall quality and consistency of these programs, nonetheless it will be an option to consider as part of the new law.

More Information

Read about the Benefits of TK
Transitional Kindergarten FAQ (from CDE)
LAUSD pushes for TK Program 

For further information contact Ruth Yoon, LAUSD Administrator, Early Childhood Education at 213-241-4713 or for a list of participating TK schools.

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Tanya Anton is the creator/founder of helping parents demystify and navigate their public school options in Los Angeles. To read more articles by Tanya or to learn about her Guidebooks, House Chats, Consultations, and popular Seminars, visit or email us at
© 2011 by Tanya Anton, All Rights Reserved.