Transitional kindergarten gains popularity in Sioux City - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Transitional kindergarten gains popularity in Sioux City

About 100 students in Sioux City are enrolled in "TK." About 100 students in Sioux City are enrolled in "TK."
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) - At age 5 not all kids are ready for kindergarten, which is why Sioux City Schools offers an alternative, "transitional kindergarten," also known as "TK."

"In TK, we slow things down a little bit," Transitional Kindergarten Teacher Sylvia Klave said. "It doesn't have all the pressures of kindergarten," Elementary Education Director Brian Burnight said.

Letter recognition, letter sounds, writing practice, and counting are all areas students focus on in "TK." "Sometimes, the parents tell me that their child just needs a little more reinforcement on letters and numbers. Sometimes, it's emotional. They haven't had very much experience outside of the home," Klave said.

Klave said behavioral issues and giving their child more time to get used to the "school experience" are also reasons parents choose "TK" over kindergarten.

Whatever the reason may be, the trend is growing. Burnight said the number of students enrolled in "TK" has jumped from 20 to almost 100 over five years just in Sioux City. "We will continue to grow our programs and really offer families choices because at the end of the day, we want to offer families lots of choices for their kids to be successful," Burnight said.

Burnight said analysis was done on the program and by going at a little slower pace and accommodating those students who are considered "young" for their grade, it's shown positive results. "They found that those students were really ready for kindergarten. They were the equivalent of their preschool peers," Burnight said.

Some kindergarten teachers said they notice a difference in those students who attended "TK." "They come in so much more socially adjusted. They're kind of good role models and models for the other kids," Kindergarten Teacher Jennifer Koch said.

Koch said there are about six students in her class now that came from "TK." "It just makes it such an easier transition to starting school, which can be kind of scary and overwhelming for kids coming in," Koch said.

Funded through the state, school officials said they envision the program continuing to grow over the next few years.

As of now, five schools in Sioux City offer "TK" programs including Clark, Crescent Park, Lincoln, Nodland, and Whittier Elementary School. 

"TK" programs at every school, except for Crescent Park, already have wait lists for next year. 

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