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The Newest Lesson in Pre-K

Understanding all the pre-kindergarten programs can be daunting for parents in L.A. these days. L.A. Unified has some new programs — with new names — that can be a challenge to navigate for what is typically a family’s first foray into public education.

Children in the U.S. are not required to attend school before kindergarten; many, including Californians, aren’t required to enter school until they’re 6 and past preschool age.

But it’s important for children to be in a classroom setting before they turn 5, according to educators and researchers. In California and Los Angeles, that has resulted in a hodgepodge of pre-kindergarten programs. The newest one in LAUSD and in some other California districts is called expanded transitional kindergarten.