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Important Information About Public School Transition to Kindergarten

If you have young kids and rely on full day, full year child care, you need to read this.

It isn’t often that we bring to your attention bills under consideration in our state legislature. During the 2023 session there is one bill, 2SHB 1550 – the Transition to Kindergarten (TTK) bill, that is important for you to know about.

Transition to Kindergarten is a program that is currently offered by public schools and is intended for communities where no other child care programs are available (child care deserts), for early learners with special needs, or for 4 and 5 year old children who need additional support to be ready for kindergarten. This program is needed, and we support this service as we believe all children should have access to high quality child care.

The TTK bill has changes that are harmful to both working families and child care programs because it allows for school districts in any area of Washington State to expand TTK beyond its original scope. There are no fees to attend TTK schools, however there are other costs to consider. For school districts that already offer TTK programs, families struggle with:

  • No full day care options, school day hours only.
  • No winter, mid-winter, spring, and summer break child care for preschool age kids.
  • Little to no cultural diversity amongst the teaching staff.
  • Higher child to teacher ratios, some school districts have as much as 1 teacher to 23 kids.

The following chart provides a snapshot comparison between TTK programs and other child care options as they relate to high quality standards for early learning. The chart is not an exhaustive list of high-quality standards but is focused on key quality components.

Please review the chart below. It clearly illustrates the vast difference in quality between TTK, licensed child care, ECEAP, and Head Start. Hopefully the chart will inspire you to contact your legislators and ask them to support holding all early learning programs, including public school TTK, to the same high quality standards that is required of all current licensed centers that provide child care in early education through ECEAP, Head Start, SPP, and etc. We encourage you to join us in advocating for the continuation of ensuring the individual needs of the families are met and the children’s quality of care and learning continue to be a priority.

Click here for the 68th legislature roster and contact information for all members. Click here to find your district.

Additional Information about state run (public school) preschool: 

Moving up the Grades: Relationship between Preschool Model and Later School Success

Alliance for Childhood Report, The Crisis in Early Education – A Research-Based Case for More Play and Less Pressure

Alliance for Childhood Report, Crisis in the Kindergarten, Why Children Need to Play in School

Alliance for Childhood Report, Reading Instruction in Kindergarten: Little to Gain, Much to Lose

Research Reveals Long-Term Harm of State Pre-K Program