UPK- Universal Prekindergarten

California has implemented a statewide initiative to provide a strong and early start to education for all children through equitable access to Universal PreKindergarten (UPK).

Universal PreKindergarten Programs
UPK can be accessed through many programs in the community including:
-Transitional Kindergarten (TK), provided by local school districts
-California State Preschool Program (CSPP), operated by school districts and community-based organizations
-Federal Head Start Programs
-Subsidized programs that provide a preschool learning experience and are operated by community-based organizations, including family child care
-Private preschools

Families with four-year-old children have the choice to send them to any program for which their child is eligible. Universal PreKindergarten programs, including Transitional Kindergarten, are optional.

Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Eligibility
California is phasing in TK for younger students, as shown in the table below. By the 2025-2026 school year, all children who are 4 years old by September 1 will be eligible to enroll in TK through their local school district.

Eligibility for transitional kindergarten (TK) does not impact eligibility for another program including the California State Preschool Program (CSPP), Head Start, as well as other subsidized programs including California Alternative Payment Programs (CAPP). Thus, families whose children are eligible for TK and are also eligible for subsidized early learning and care programs will still be able to choose to send their child to those programs. Families may also continue to choose to enroll their children in private preschool programs or keep their children at home.

TK REQUIREMENT 2021-2022 2022-2023 2023-2024 2024-2025 2025-2026
Student Phase-In (EC 48000) TK Planning Year 5th birthday between September 2 and February 2  5th birthday between September 2 and April 2   5th birthday between September 2 and June 2   4th birthday by September 1 
*Local school districts may have a policy that allows eligibility to include younger children. Please contact your local school for additional information.

California Department of Education (CDE) Resources
About TK
The bridge between preschool and Kindergarten for California's children.

Universal PreKindergarten and Transitional Kindergarten
CDE resources for meeting the UPK timelines, including:
-UPK Planning and Implementation Grant Program Planning Template 
-UPK Planning and Implementation Program Guidance

Universal PreKindergarten FAQs
Frequently asked questions regarding California state law relating to Universal PreKindergarten (UPK) and Transitional Kindergarten (TK).

California Preschool Learning Foundations
Outline of the key knowledge and skills that most children can achieve when given the benefits of a high-quality preschool program.
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