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Engaging students at a young age is critical in establishing the habits necessary for school success. 90% of a child’s brain develops by age 5, which is why regularly attending early learning programs builds strong foundations for success in life and future careers.

Dr. Mary Ann Dewan

Early learning programs are for children ages birth to six years of age:

Infant/Toddler Programs (children birth to 23 months)
Preschool (children ages 2 to 5 years of age)
Transitional Kindergarten (New: For the 2022/23 school year: children who turn 5 between Sept. 2 and Feb. 2)
Kindergarten (children who turn 5 before Sept. 1)​

The pandemic has contributed to an overall decline in enrollment countywide in early learning programs. Providing equitable access to high-quality early learning programs is crucial to building the foundation for our youngest learners.

Under California Assembly Bill 130, approximately $2.7 billion will go towards the gradual expansion of Transitional Kindergarten (TK) beginning in the 2022-2023 school year. By the 2025-2026 school year, all four year olds will be eligible for free TK. Currently, families with four-year-olds have many early learning options including private preschool, care through family childcare homes, and low-cost/free subsidized programs (if eligible) such as Head Start, California School Preschool Program, Alternative Payment Program, and other subsidized programs.

To raise awareness of these available programs for families, the Santa Clara County Office of Education launched the “Steps to Success” campaign. The campaign aims to break down barriers for families to access early learning and care services by creating a unified platform that facilitates the enrollment process. Many programs are currently enrolling for next school year! Families can learn more and enroll their child in an early learning program that fits their needs by going to www.enrollsantaclara.org.

We encourage families to take advantage of these foundational programs to ensure their child has the foundation to be successful in life and future careers.