Last week, we discussed LAUSD's new transitional kindergarten ("TK") program, which will be available at all schools for students turning 5 between November 2 and December 1 of this year. I recently learned that the program will also be available for older kindergarten students who might not be as ready for traditional kindergarten as their peers (since it's unlikely that there will be enough children with November birthdays to make up a full class at each school.)
In other words, if you have considered "holding your child back" a year for kindergarten, TK is a great new option. TK is the first year of a 2-year kindergarten program, intended to prepare children for traditional kindergarten the following year. What's nice about it, of course, is that it's free (no paying for preschool!), a full 6-hour day like traditional kindergarten, and will get your child comfortable in the elementary school environment.
Factors to consider in deciding whether TK is a better option for your child than traditional kindergarten are the child's emotional maturity, ability to focus and concentrate, knowledge of letters and their sounds, knowledge of numbers, and whether the child has ever attended a school before.
Also, traditional kindergarten these days is far more rigorous than it was say, 20 years ago. You can find the kindergarten standards here, and they include reading beginner texts with purpose and understanding, writing complete sentences, counting to 100 by ones and tens, knowledge of addition and subtraction, some geometry, and more. Because the curriculum is so academic, there is a lot of material that teachers must cover and some children may have a harder time keeping up.
For more information on the availability of transitional kindergarten, contact your local elementary school.