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Oakland Unified School District

Kindergarten Readiness

Kindergarten Readiness entails the combined efforts of families, the community, and schools to come together to support student achievement both in school and in the community.

Checkout New America's article about our Kindergarten Readiness efforts.


  • Build trustful and welcoming environments for children/families of co-located preschool
  • Support a smooth transition to Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten
  • Continue supports that have been successful in Pre-K


  • Increase connections between child, family, and school
  • Implementation of Kinder Transition Plans (PreK-to-Kindergarten transition forms)
  • Collaboration with Kinder Transition Teacher Leaders
“This was my first year working the Summer Kinder/TK Bridge program and I liked seeing our preschoolers getting excited for Kindergarten. In the beginning, the routines were hard for the children, but by the end of the program, they became more confident in themselves.”- Ms. Claudia, Instructional Assistant at Acorn Woodland Elementary School
Two children play with a dollhouse while an adult watches in the background.


Why Kindergarten Readiness is Important

Importance of Transitional Experiences

A study of California's Transitional Kindergarten Program, The Impact of Transitional Kindergarten on California Students, indicates that transition activities provide positive learning experiences that foster engagement of students above what is seen in students who do not attend. Additionally, transitional kindergarten is associated with each of the following outcomes for children beginning kindergarten and their families:

  • Students show more advanced academic skills.
  • Students are more engaged in class and have higher rates of self-control.
  • Families have a higher level of trust and are less anxious.
  • Elementary school teachers have a reference for incoming children’s needs.
  • Students continue to grow in their skills and abilities in all areas over the course of the kindergarten year.

While all students who attend TK experience these benefits, outcomes are most significantly impactful for students from typically underserved populations, including economically disadvantaged students, Black and Latino students, and English learners. TK succeeded in giving these students a boost on all language, literacy, and math outcomes relative to their non-TK peers. These students also benefited from TK in terms of social skills (engagement) as well as letter and word identification, phonological awareness, applied problems, and quantitative concepts. This underscores the wide-reaching benefits of TK (American Institutes for Research, 2017).


Two children wearing matching orange t-shirts play with multicolor blocks on a colorful rug


Impacts on School Readiness:

The opportunity gap is evident before children start kindergarten. Transition practices have a greater effect on children from disenfranchised communities who often contend with instability, loss, or trauma. These teacher-led practices are grounded in relationships and intentional connections that “level the playing field” for academic performance (Little, Cohel-Vogel, & Curran, 2016). Transitions are challenging for young children and knowing how to navigate new environments and people is imperative to early school success. Children have a better chance of success if they have a smooth transition into elementary school. At OUSD, relationships are a metric of school success and quality community schools. Ninety-four percent of our preschool families participated in home visits with teachers and instructional assistants during the 2021-2022 school year.

Family engagement and empowerment is an avenue of school readiness and educational equity that we are growing to suit families furthest from opportunity.- Maria Sujo, Director, Kindergarten Readiness 
student holding glue stick while sitting at desk