Advice about OUSD Transitional Kindergarten

Questions & Responses:
Transitional kindergarten at Emerson in Oakland (3 responses)
TK Options & Sankofa(1 response)
Looking for Dual Language Immersion TK in Oakland(3 responses)
Public TK or Private K? So confused.(4 responses)
Archived Responses: 

Experience w/ TK Classroom @ Emerson Elementary?

June 2016

Hi There! We're enrolled at Emerson for the Fall - my daughter is 4 1/2 and I'm nervous. She's been in a preschool with a 6-1 ratio for the past year and the ratio at Emerson is ....24-1!?? I wonder if anyone has experience in the TK classroom at Emerson and would be willing to share. I'm curious about how kids do there with less adult support and also about how the day looks (are they expected to sit still and listen to the teacher most of the day?). Thanks so much, Kasey

My son is currently attending TK at Emerson. He originally came from a tiny preschool that only had 12 children. We attended some of the first of the month Emerson Saturday playdates to get a feel for the school, meet some parents and have some questions answered prior which helped a tiny bit with the transition to a big school.

Ms. Brooks is great! She has a very calm demeanor and many strengths, as well as recognizing the individuality in each child. (Though I have recently heard that she may be teaching the Kindergarten class next year.) The TK seemed to have an influx of volunteers, including some Oakland High students. There was also a dedicated assistant in the afternoon every day.

There is much more flexibility in the TK room than in the Kindergarten so rest assured the children are not sitting all day. I can't tell you exactly how the day goes but in the morning they do sit briefly and then it is free choice play. They have P.E. with Coach Carter once a week and on rainy days she sometimes comes in too. Ms. Brooks would also do Yoga with the children.

Hope that answers some of your questions. Claire

Considering OUSD Transitional Kindergarten

Jan 2016

Hi, My son will be 5 years old in November (2016). He is in a great preschool, but I am considering transitional kindergarten for him because it is 5 days a week and it's free. I've found very little information about the different TK programs offered through the Oakland School district. I've found lots of helpful info about k-12 but very little about TK. We live in the Cleveland school district - but since they don't offer TK we will have to apply to another school. Can you please share your experience with TK in Oakland? I've looked at Sequoia (but have little hope of getting in) so am interested to hear about other schools. And really any school - or just the TK experience in general. Thank you so much for any help/advice you can share. Katherine

Hi - Our son is in TK at Glenview this year. We also applied to Sequoia, having heard great things about the TK teacher, but didn't get in. Our teacher, Ms Shreve is wonderful, we really love her.

TK in general is more academic than I expected. There are lots of worksheets, tracing etc. I had hoped it would involve more play than it does, and I'm not sure how different it is than kindergarten. Our kid has homework every day, which seems crazy. They are currently developing the curriculum and I'm not sure they've gotten it all figured out yet.

All that being said, our kid is happy at Glenview, and loves the teacher and classmates. Glenview is a sweet place. I wish there was less homework overall but I think it's pretty standard in OUSD, unfortunately.

We do feel lucky to qualify for TK too. Our kid will be well-prepared for K. Good luck! anon

Oakland TK Families: How's it going?

Nov 2015

We are considering TK for 2016-17 and would love to hear from current (or recent) OUSD TK families on how your child is doing and what you think of the program at the school you are at. Also especially interested in hearing from families with parent(s) who work full-time--were you able to find aftercare that accepted your TK student? If not, how did you solve the extended day dilemma? Are there any Oakland preschools offering, or considering offering, a program similar to the TK aftercare program that the Berkeley JCC offers? Thanks! Prospective TK parent

My child started the school year in TK at a school with a good reputation that had not previously offered TK. The curriculum and environment were not ideal for four-year-olds--frequent transitions between activities, incredibly short recesses, lots of many-step directions relayed from across the room, pretty advanced motor work with scissors etc. It was pretty much just kindergarten! I think TK is probably a good fit for a child who is actually developmentally ready for kindergarten but just not chronologically old enough. Our child had a difficult time in TK and we ultimately went back to preschool, where there were thankfully still spaces. Perhaps as OUSD gets more experienced with TK, it'll be a better option for more types of children, but for now, if you can at all afford it, just do an extra year of preschool. If you'd like more details, have the moderator give you my e-mail. Opted out of TK

Transitional kindergarten near Rockridge?

Aug 2015

Due to my son's birthdate he won't enter kindergarten until 6 years old in 2017. Some tell me that it's actually better for a boy, anyway, given slower social development. I have a very smart and savvy kiddo, but he could use some social skills (despite being in a preschool setting for 2 years...). Anyone have advice/experience with this? I have a disability that does not allow me to drive, or even take the bus long-distance. Does anyone know if my disability will be considered by the OUSD when choosing a T-K program for my son? I live in lower Rockridge, Oakland, a few blocks away from Peralta (Rockridge area) and about 1 mile to Chabot. Neither has one, but the nearest schools are Emerson and Piedmont (both a bus ride away). Does anyone have experience with the Emerson or Piedmont programs, or any other in the OUSD? Thanks for advice. CR

Here's what I know about the transitional K program at Emerson:

  • Last year there were 25+ kids with ONE teacher who did not have an assistant or an aide with her for any portion of the school day.
  • The students are given activities that do not seem age-appropriate, such as tracing numbers 1-100 on a hundreds chart, and lots of time spent sitting for instruction. There seems to be lots of desk work (worksheets, closed-ended projects) and not a lot of open-ended, creative/interactive projects.
  • Last year's teacher was dedicated and well-intentioned but new to teaching, and with 25+ kids, I'm worried she will burn out quickly. But she has good classroom management skills and manages to teach the children even though she has way too many in her classroom.

Hope this info helps.

Transitional kindergarten at Sequoia in Oakland?

June 2014

Hello! I've recently realized that our son will be eligible for TK in the 2015 school year. He will be five in September. We are zoned for Glenview but on the border of the zone for Sequoia. I don't know if zoning matters for TK, and I do know that Glenview will be moving during construction, and currently doesn't have a TK. I've read good things generally about the Sequoia TK. But, I know the TK program is quite new, so I'm wondering if any parents of current TK Sequoia kids can give some input. Do you like the teacher? How was the transition from preschool? What were things that you liked or disliked about the class/teacher? And this is more of a TK general question... How does one decide if their child is TK ready? Thanks in advance! I appreciate your input. Allison

My son is in 1st at Sequoia and was in regular K last year with the teacher who is currently teaching TK (Tontra Love). Last I heard she would be teaching TK again next year but I can't say that with 100% certainty as I am not in a position to know. I can't speak to TK since I didn't experience it, but I can say that any child would be lucky to be in Ms. Love's class. I truly cannot say enough wonderful things about her as a teacher and a person. She is warm and loving yet sets good boundaries. She strives to meet each kid where they are at, provides differentiated instruction, and was unbelievably helpful with behavioral challenges my child had both when in her class and also this year -- never blaming or labeling and always seeing his strengths and wanting to help him succeed. Based on my experience, I really can't imagine a person more suited to teaching TK. She truly surpassed all my hopes and dreams for what his first teacher would be like. I'd also like to give a plug for Sequoia as a school. We have been very happy there and have found the teachers and administrators to be very welcoming to the diverse community served by the school. It is really a very sweet place. A Sequoia Mom

Emerson Elementary Transitional Kindergarten

June 2013

I'm a parent of a child with an early Sept. birthday who ''should'' be starting kindergarten in 2014. We are starting to investigate our school options and are hoping the Transitional Kindergarten program at Emerson Elementary in Oakland will be just what we're looking for. The reason I'm reaching out to this list is because I've had a very hard time finding any parent feedback on the program at Emerson and also feedback on what happens after TK. We plan on sending our kids to our neighborhood school for elementary (not emerson). I'm wondering if many of the TK kids leave Emerson after TK? Also if participating in TK effects your chances of getting into your neighborhood school. Thanks for your insight! Curious Parent

Not all schools have TK programs, so many students go to other schools for TK, then on to whatever school they get into for regular kindergarten. My daughter was in TK at PLACE @ Prescott, and is going to Chabot for kindergarten.

In regards to the TK program, I would describe it as what Kindergarten used to be when we were all growing up. More play-oriented, less emphasis on academics as compared to current kindergartens, and age appropriate. Having had my daughter at Emeryville Child Development Center for PRE-K, I definitely thought my daughter learned a lot more in TK, as opposed to PreK in preschool. I felt she was challenged a lot more, but the program also takes into account the younger age of the children, as opposed to being in kindergarten, so there's nap-time, etc. wendy

My daughter went to TK last year and we were very happy with Ms. E's class. She is a really great teacher and highly recommended. In the TK class had many kids coming from elsewhere, Emerson not their home school. My daughter will stay at Emerson for K, but many of her classmates went back to their home school- I would said 2/3 of the class. Like any other school, parents need to get involved and volunteer in class which we did and that helped the teacher and the kids. TK mother

My son's birthday qualified him to start kindergarten last fall so I enrolled him at our local elementary school, but then worried that he wasn't quite ready for ''big kid'' school and all the confinements that came with that. After much debate and worry, I made the decision to enroll him in the TK program at Emerson--site unseen--which is a 20-minute commute for our family. As it is a pilot program, there wasn't a lot of information going in and all the parents were nervous and didn't really know what to expect. I can tell you that we were all pleasantly surprised. What we got was an amazing teacher (Danielle Erwin) who is passionate about educating young minds. The class sits on the carpet, instead of at desks, so it is not as formal as a classroom. Ms. Erwin does a good job blending play and instruction. The transition to the full-day schedule, limited play time and short lunch period was a big adjustment but I think it's great to have a year to get used to a new routine and school environment without all of the academic pressure that kindergarten now brings. I have absolutely no regrets about enrolling my son in TK and the Emerson community is great. All of the parents are incredibly passionate, and contribute in their own ways. My son's class was approximately 23 kids, and 9 were from outside the neighborhood so will attend kindergarten at a school other than Emerson. Attending TK at Emerson will not impact your assignment as the district assigns you to the school in your neighborhood regardless. Feel free to contact me if I can answer any other questions! Emerson TK Parent Alumni

Experience with OUSD Transitional Kindergarten?

December 2012

Hi, my daughter turns five on September 12 of this coming September and i am interested in the OUSD transitional kindergarten program. Does anybody have any experience with this program? Was it good or bad? Have you heard anything about it? What school did your child attend? I'm also considering putting her in kindergarten and perhaps keeping her there for two years. Does anybody have experience with that? She would be going to Chabot. Thanks for your advice. Mom of sept birthday kid

I'm a parent of a fall birthday kid, we're enrolling her in TK next year. As I understand it, TK is prioritized for kids who have birthdays within the cut off. So for next year, that would be for kids with birthdays between Oct. 1 and Dec. 1. So if there is more space, they'd consider a Sept birthday kid. Don't know anything about trying to do two years in K, sorry. Good luck! fall birthday mama