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Universal PreKindergarten
Partnership Guidebook

Resources to create a common understanding of UPK and facilitate essential partnerships between family serving organizations, community-based organizations, and local education agencies.

Together, we are transforming California's education system.

The Kindergarten Readiness Act made Transitional Kindergarten (TK) available for four- and some three-year-old children. This legislation gives new support for these students, but it does not include younger children who don’t qualify for public preschool because of their age, and who aren’t yet old enough to enroll in Kindergarten or a TK classroom.

In California, 77% of working-age parents/caregivers with preschool-aged children are employed at least part time. In 98% of families with two or more working-age adults, at least one works outside the home. In 55% of these families, all adults work. 86% of parents work in single family homes. Single-parent families with young children have strikingly high poverty rates: 62% of preschool-aged children with just one working-age adult at home lived in or near poverty. Transitional Kindergarten is the only program that enrolls children turning five between September 1 and June 2 with no income requirements. Government spending on CSPP, Transitional Kindergarten, and Head Start only covers half of public expenditures on child care in the state of California. Currently California’s Public preschool programs lack the capacity to serve all eligible children. 

What is Universal PreKindergarten?

Universal PreKindergarten (UPK) is an important part of a statewide effort to provide full-circle support for children and families and transform California’s schools to be more community-focused and equitable. This mixed delivery system brings together early education programs, as well as other Pre-K programs serving three- and four-year-old children.

The aim of UPK is to ensure every child – regardless of background, race, zip code, immigration status, or income level – has equitable access to a quality learning experience the year before kindergarten. UPK also ensures families can make a personal choice across programs that can support the specific needs of their children.

UPK is an initiative that bridges programming in the community-based organization, Head Start, and California State Preschool Program to a revisioned UTK to support children in the birth to grade 12. UTK is the state four-year-old preschool program offered at a Local Education Agency or school district. This delivery model provides a free year of preschool to all children turning 5 between September 1 and June 2 of the year they enter school. The UPK program elevates early learning in preschool and UTK to provide parent choice in programming that is play-based and developmentally appropriate to meet the needs of all students across a mixed delivery system that includes a variety of models from private preschool to LEA program models.

Universal Prekindergarten FAQ

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What is Universal PreKindergarten?

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UPK Information for Families

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CDE's UPK Home Page

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Planning & Implementation (Volume 1)

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Planning & Implementation (Volume 2)

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Mixed Delivery, Quality, Access Report

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Partnerships are essential to creating a comprehensive UPK system for our community.

The UPK Partnership Guidebook emphasizes the importance of partnerships to fully deliver a UPK system. Our aim is to provide the tools to facilitate these relationships and create a common understanding of the regulations that govern UPK.

What type of support organization are you?

Through partnership, we created guidebooks full of resources, tools and templates that help facilitate the successful delivery of UPK for all communities. Get resources to support your work by selecting your organization below.

Want to help us make our resource list even better?

If you have a resource that you would like to share with us, simply fill out our contact us form and share your suggestion with us!


UPK & ECE Acronym List

Not sure what an acronym stands for? Use our handy acronym list to easily look up and understand an acronym you may come across.