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Santa Monica College to Offer Program for Teaching Transitional Kindergarten


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By Lookout Staff

June 8, 2017 -- Santa Monica College will become the first community college in California to offer a program that trains and certifies teachers for Transitional Kindergarten (TK), school officials announced Wednesday.

The first classes in the 24-unit certificate program offered by the Early Childhood/Education (ECE) Department will be launched online starting in Fall 2017, with the remaining courses offered in Spring 2018, officials said.

Transitional Kindergarten
“Baby Day” during an Early Childhood/Education practicum class taught by ECE Professor Gary Huff at Santa Monica College (Photo courtesy of SMC)

“This is the most affordable and accessible for-credit professional development pathway for TK currently available in California,” said SMC Early Childhood/Education instructor Gary Huff.

“And, it’s a great starting point for non-credentialed students who are interested in exploring career options working with younger children in the school system.”

TK addresses the need to help children who turn 5 between September 2 and December 2 prepare for kindergarten, which in California only accepts children who are age 5 on or before September 1.

"These children may not have much experience interacting with other children and adults outside the family, and may have limited skills in listening, self-control and adapting to the structured environment of a classroom," SMC officials said.

Because TK is relatively new -- California’s Kindergarten Readiness Act was passed in 2010 -- credentialed teachers who have been moved into TK classrooms are often unprepared to meet the challenges of teaching younger children.

To address the issue the California Department of Education established a contract with the Curriculum Alignment Project (CAP) to develop TK teacher preparation courses to be offered for credit through community colleges.

“In creating this program, (SMC is) connecting Elementary Educators with the ECE system in a comprehensive and meaningful manner," said Renatta Cooper, Educational Coordinator for the LA County Office for the Advancement of Early Care and Education. "By providing a Certificate, they also enable teachers who participate in their program to have proof of specialized instruction with the TK age group.

"This will help to secure these teachers’ position in TK classrooms regardless of their seniority," Cooper said. "This is good news for developmental education and great news for children.”

To learn more about the new Transitional Kindergarten certification and other education programs at SMC visit or call (310) 434-8109.


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