The Legislature hereby finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The Superintendent of Public Instruction convened a Task Force on School Readiness that prepared a report which included the following findings and recommendations:
(1) Preschool and kindergarten programs have become more academically oriented with an emphasis on paper and pencil "seat work" and a decreased emphasis on other essential age-appropriate curricular elements such as language development; familiarity with stories, music, and oral language experiences; artistic exploration; social interaction; and large muscle development.
(2) Assessment tests of questionable validity and reliability are being used to delay children's entrance to kindergarten or to place them in a two-year kindergarten.
(3) An appropriate, integrated experiential curriculum should be provided for children in preschool, kindergarten, and grades 1 to 3, inclusive.
(4) Programs should meet the special needs of our culturally and linguistically diverse pupils as well as the needs of exceptional children.
(5) Classroom organization and teaching methods should reflect the heterogeneous skills and abilities of children in early primary programs.
(6) School districts should be encouraged to develop communication about linkages between programs for four-year-olds, early primary programs, and the primary and intermediate grades of elementary schools.
(7) The staff of early primary programs should receive appropriate education, training, and remuneration.
(8) Programs should be offered full-day and also should provide before- and after-school care.
(9) Assessment methods of children in early primary programs should be drastically altered.
(10) Parental involvement should be encouraged.
(11) A public awareness campaign should be launched describing appropriate learning practices for children in preschool, kindergarten, and grades 1 to 3, inclusive.
(b) The Superintendent of Public Instruction issued a Triennial Report on Publicly Funded Child Development Programs that documents the increasing numbers of low-income families eligible but unserved by limited preschool and child care funds, and that presents policy implications for staffing and funding issues.
(c) National studies show future benefits of early intervention programs to society and immediate advantages to California employers in the form of reduced absenteeism, improved worker morale, and increased productivity.
(d) It is the intent of the Legislature that activities initiated as a result of this chapter shall continue without regard to fiscal year depending, when necessary, on continued funding.
(e) It is the intent of the Legislature that school districts that establish an early primary program coordinate that program, whenever possible, with the Demonstration in Restructuring of Public Education program, established pursuant to Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 58900) of Part 31 and, where applicable, with the county interagency children's services coordinating council, established pursuant to Article 2 (commencing with Section 18986.10) of Chapter 12.8 of Part 6 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.
(Added by Stats. 1992, Ch. 1082, Sec. 1.)
Education Code 58900
Welfare and Institutions Code 18986.10