Sonoma County Office of Education

Universal Prekindergarten

Universal Prekindergarten

P-3 Alignment: Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) to 3rd Grade

The period from birth to age eight is critical for a child’s health, development, and learning. By the time a child reaches kindergarten, 90% of their brain has already developed - which means the educational continuum from prekindergarten to 3rd grade is the most important time of their lives. The Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) is committed to providing support with expanding high-quality prekindergarten experiences to all 4-year-olds, regardless of race, class, culture or zip code, and strengthening the program coherence between prekindergarten to 3rd grade, known as P-3 alignment.

What is Universal Prekindergarten (UPK)?

Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) refers to the continuum of high-quality programs, including TK, state preschool, Head Start, general childcare, and community-based early learning and care providers, that can be layered and wrapped to create rich, early-learning opportunities for all children during the year before kindergarten, regardless of income.

What is Transitional Kindergarten (TK)?

Transitional kindergarten (TK) refers to the first year of a two-year kindergarten program that uses a modified kindergarten curriculum which is developmentally- and age-appropriate. Universal transitional kindergarten is a TK program available to all 4-year-old children statewide at no cost to families.

Universal Prekindergarten (UPK) Family Forum Webinar

On April 27th, a panel of child care providers gathered to give information regarding early learning and care options for all four-year-olds and their families. Click Here to view the Recording.

Note for Families in Search of TK Classes:
All districts are required to offer a TK option for families, though not every school in the district is required to have its own TK class. To learn more about what your child's school district offers, please contact the district directly. You can look up appropriate contact information in the SCOE directory. If you are not sure what district your child is in, you can use this district lookup to find out.

Diverse family

Finding the Best Educational Program for your Four-year old

Parents of four-year-olds face a unique range of educational options for their child in California. Attending a high-quality early education program prepares children to learn and succeed by developing pre-reading, math and social skills helping them to be ready for kindergarten and beyond. Click here to learn more. | Clic aquí para saber más.

Transitional Kindergarten Overview

These introductory materials provide answers to common questions about Transitional Kindergarten (TK). Available in English and Spanish, they are designed to introduce parents to TK programs in Sonoma County.

Transitional Kindergarten FAQ (pdf)
Preguntas Más Frecuentes, Kínder de Transición (pdf)

Transitional Kindergarten Parent Brochure (pdf)
Kínder de Transición Folleto par Padres (pdf)

Kindergarten Readiness

This updated brochure helps parents of young children know how to prepare them for kindergarten.

Raising Readers: A Family Literacy Guide | Spring 2017

This publication helps guide parents in teaching their young children how to read.

Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten?

This document, in English and Spanish, explains the difference between preschool, transitional kindergarten, and kindergarten; highlights key kindergarten readiness indicators; and lists school registration requirements.

Is My Child Ready for Kindergarten? | Está Mi Hijo Listo para Kindergarten? (pdf)

Early Learning, Math at Home

This California Mathematics Council (CMC) publication is a guide to mathematics education for parents of 0–5 year old children. It is designed to help parents give young children their first positive experiences in mathematics.

Decades of research demonstrate that an early and strong foundation for learning matters. Children who have effective learning opportunities before kindergarten have an advantage in school and in life over children who do not, especially children with adverse childhood experiences. Children who attend quality preschool programs are more prepared for school in terms of their early literacy, language, and math skills, their executive function, and social emotional development. In some cases, preschool participants are less likely to be identified for special education services or to be held back in elementary school than children who do not attend developmentally-informed preschool programs that include strong educational components.

California Assembly Bill (AB) 130 (2021-22) established an early learning initiative to expand equitable access to high-quality universal prekindergarten (UPK) for all 4-year-olds regardless of income. To support this initiative, California has provided funding through the PreKindergarten Planning and Implementation Grant. This grant program provides $200 million for the California Department of Education (CDE) to allocate directly to LEAs based on a statutory formula to support planning and implementation costs associated with expanding prekindergarten options, such as universally-available transitional kindergarten (TK), CSPP, and Head Start for eligible students, and other local and community-based partnerships. LEA plans on how the funds will be utilized must be board-approved by June 30, 2022.

California is poised to realize universal prekindergarten (UPK) for all four-year-old children, and to expand services for three-year-old children through bold leadership and unprecedented investments. The effort aims to support our youngest learners in equitable ways with learning opportunities that will guide them as they enter kindergarten and beyond.

ice cream cone graphic - upk

Expanded Learning Opportunities Program (ELO-P): ELO-P provides funding for after-school and summer school enrichment programs for TK through sixth grade. The ELO-P is defined as services provided in addition to the normal school day and school year operations, to provide full-day and full-year expanded learning programs to meet the needs of working families whose children are enrolled in TK through sixth grade and also provide expanded learning enrichment programming for students. A full day is defined as in-person before school or after-school expanded learning opportunities that, when added to daily instructional minutes, are no fewer than nine hours of combined instructional time and expanded learning opportunities per instructional day. A full year includes a minimum of 30 days of programming in the summer and intersession for no fewer than nine hours of in-person expanded learning opportunities per day.

Early learning and care: This refers to the continuum of programs serving children from birth to preschool or school entry, as well as extended care to support school-age children with before school and after-school care as well as vacation schedules. This includes general child care, Early Head Start and Head Start, community-based early learning and care programs, family child care providers, and family, friend, and neighbor care.

California State Preschool Program (CSPP): CSPP is the largest state-funded preschool program in the nation. CSPP includes both part-day and full-day services to eligible three- and four-year-old children. CSPP provides a core class curriculum that is developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate for the children served. The program also provides meals and snacks to children, parent education, referrals to health and social services for families, and staff development opportunities to employees. The program is administered through LEAs, colleges, community-action agencies, local government entities, and private, nonprofit agencies.

Transitional kindergarten (TK): TK means the first year of a two-year kindergarten program, serving four-year-old children regardless of income that uses a modified kindergarten curriculum that is age- and developmentally- appropriate (EC Section 48000 [d]).

Universal Prekindergarten (UPK): UPK refers to universal TK as well as the expanded CSPP, Head Start, and early childhood special education services that families can choose from to create rich early learning opportunities for all three- and four-year-old children during the year or two years before kindergarten. In high-needs neighborhoods, the CDE strongly encourages LEAs to consider pairing TK programs with access to Head Start and CSPP for age- and income- eligible three- and four-year-old children to further bolster program quality, either through the LEA’s own Head Start or CSPP program or via a contract partnership with a CBO that administers a Head Start or CSPP.

California Assembly Bill 130 (which modifies EC Section 48000) outlines the required average ratio of adults to children in the transitional kindergarten classroom. Each classroom must be taught by a teacher who holds a credential issued by the state Commission on Teacher Credentialing (see Ed Code 44065 and 44256 for additional information). Starting in the 2022-23 school year, the average ratio in the classroom is one adult per every 12 students. In 2023-24, the average ratio is one adult per every 10 students contingent upon an appropriation of funds for this purpose. Additionally, school districts and charter schools must maintain an average transitional kindergarten class enrollment of not more than 24 pupils per classroom for each school site.



  • Facilities Grant Program (EC 17375-17375)
  • Pre-Kindergarten Planning and Implementation Grant (EC 8281.5)



  • Fifth birthday between Sept. 2 and Feb. 2


  • 1:12


  • Additional TK credentialing requirements in place by August 2023



  • Fifth birthday between Sept. 2 and April 2


  • 1:10 (contingent on funding)



  • Fifth birthday between Sept. 2 and June 2


  • 1:10 (contingent on funding)



  • Fourth birthday by Sept. 1
TK eligibility timeline

Young Learner Teacher Network (formerly known as TK Network)

Teachers of early learners (TK and kindergarten) are invited to come together to engage in a rich community building and networking opportunity. Participants will take part in intentionally crafted learning experiences that address how to serve our schools’ youngest students and best meet their specific needs. Session topics will include age-appropriate instructional strategies, opportunities to build new knowledge and skills, hear about relevant updates from the state, and learn about what is happening in each other's classrooms. Please join us as we celebrate the joy of teaching young children while deepening our understanding of how to effectively meet their needs.


Questions may be directed to:

  • Brulene Zanutto, Specialist - Preschool through Third Grade (P-3)
    (707) 522-3163,
  • Ryan Kurada, Project Coordinator - Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK)
    (707) 524 - 2600 ext. 2030,