In East San Jose, One District is Seeing Success with Universal Preschool

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Three kids sit on the floor as they listen to their classroom teacher.
From left, Ariel Estrada, Camila Corona and Ayanna Hernandez listen to their teacher, Sandra Rivera, during playtime in a transitional kindergarten class at Cesar Chavez Early Learning Center in East San José on Feb. 17, 2023. This year, thousands of children began their schooling as part of California's ambitious plan to expand universal preschool statewide. (Kori Suzuki/KQED)

California is in the middle of rolling out a plan to make preschool universal across the state. Also known as “transitional kindergarten,” it’s all part of an ambitious plan to make childcare more accessible, and close some big learning gaps between children from low and high income families. So far, the implementation has been mixed.

But some districts have been providing transitional kindergarten already. The Alum Rock Union School District in East San Jose is one of them, and its program is attracting more and more interest from families. Today, we explain why. 

Episode transcript

Guest: Daisy Nguyen Early Childhood Education and Care reporter for KQED.