Gallery: Children 4-years-old enrolled in transitional kindergarten program at Cullen Elementary School in Glendora

Each year when school starts up after summer break, there are new faces, new clothes, new haircuts, and maybe some new teachers.

This year, there's also a new grade.

Transitional kindergarten, a steppingstone between preschool and kindergarten, has been rolled out at school districts across the state as the result of a 2010 state law.

The Kindergarten Readiness Act requires districts to set up transitional kindergarten classrooms for students who might not be quite ready to head into kindergarten, especially those born in the last few months of the year.

This year, children born between Nov. 2 and Dec. 2 are eligible to enter transitional kindergarten. Next year, the cutoff will move to Oct. 2. The following year, it will be Sept. 2.

Under the previous system, those kids would have started kindergarten as 4 year olds, said Beth Hodges, who oversees the transitional kindergarten program at Rowland Unified.

"It gives them more time to grow and develop," she said.