HILLSBOROUGH TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SCHOOLS
THE TRANSITIONAL PRIMARY PROGRAM
In 1989, the Hillsborough Township Public Schools adopted a philosophy based on child growth and development. It states that we believe in the following:
- Each child is a unique individual with his/her own biological rate of development, a rate that cannot be hurried, remediated or ignored.
- School success is dependent upon physical, social and emotional, as well as, intellectual readiness.
- Every effort should be made to help make the child’s early school experience one that develops positive self-esteem necessary for optimal learning and long-term school success.
- Each child should be provided a developmentally appropriate educational environment in which s/he feels safe, valued and successful.
ELIGIBILITY and PARTICIPATION:
Although participation in the Transitional Primary Program is voluntary and requires parent consent, not all children are eligible. A student must have a developmental age of 5 ½ or younger. The Gesell Developmental Assessment is administered by trained assessors in order to determine developmental age.
The Transitional Primary Program will provide each child with the following:
- A learning environment in which the child is able to function without undo stress so that the full impact of effective parenting and competent instruction can be realized.
- Academic experiences commensurate with his/her level of readiness.
- A program that recognizes the need for social, emotional and physical development as well as academic growth.
The environment allows for much more movement and more time developing social skills. Young children are not ready to sit quietly at a desk for extended periods of time. The TP environment respects this fact.
The Transitional Primary teacher will create a climate that pays special attention to developing the self esteem of each child. Children in this program are typically young children who did not experience the full benefit of kindergarten. Oftentimes, these children leave kindergarten feeling that they were not as successful as other children in their class. This feeling of inadequacy must be reversed as quickly as possible; therefore, the Transitional Primary teacher celebrates small successes daily.
From an academic perspective, the TP program is intended to solidify kindergarten essential skills and begin to set a solid foundation for first grade skills. An important component of the curriculum unique to the Transitional Primary Program is that a special emphasis is placed on social, emotional and physical development.
The Essential Skills targeted in the Transitional Primary Program will span the continuum of early primary reading, writing, math, science and social skills depending upon each child’s level of development.
The first Transitional Primary class began in 1989. A total of 102 students were recommended. Of that group, 76 students participated in the TP program and 26 chose not to participate and went on to first grade. At the end of the first year of the program, we found that 82% of the TP participants were ready to begin an on level reading program in first grade whereas only 9% of them were ready at the beginning of the Transitional Primary experience. If the TP program had not existed, 91% of the TP participants would have required Basic Skills support in first grade.
This initial group of TP students was followed through grade 12 at which time the results of a longitudinal study were reported for the graduating class of 2002.