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Attending quality early learning programs for children ages birth to five creates positive short and long- term impacts for success in school and life. Santa Clara County’s schools are committed to providing high-quality preschool, transitional kindergarten (TK), and kindergarten programs.

What is the difference between preschool, TK and K?

  • TK-12 public education programs are open to all regardless of immigration status. ETK (Early TK), TK and kindergarten are only operated through schools and are free.
  • Preschool programs that are operated through schools may range from private pay to no-cost options. Contact your local school district to learn if they have preschool programs. You can also contact Santa Clara County's Childcare Resource and Referral program at 669-212-5437 to learn about your options. Families may qualify for low-cost preschool if they meet certain eligibility. Eligibility may vary depending on the program you select. The R&R team can provide you with information to make the best decision for you and your child. 
  • Understand the programmatic differences between preschool, TK and K 

Enroll in Preschool, TK and K through schools

TK Expansion in California

Most 4 year olds are eligible for free TK through schools. The image below shows the birthdays that will be eligible to enroll in TK by academic year. 

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Immunizations for TK and K

Visit Shots for School to learn more about the immunization requirements for TK and Kindergarten students. For FAQs about TK immunizations, click here


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