JOPLIN, Mo. — You might call it a next-level kind of kindergarten.

It’s all about learning your ABCs and 123s. However, kindergarten can be much tougher for some students than others.

That’s where transitional kindergarten comes in, focusing on Joplin’s littlest learners.

“May not be able to keep up with the rigor and sometimes they get really sad stressed out, and don’t love school because it’s a little too hard for them. So transitional kindergarten that goes at more their developmental pace,” said Shanon Cooper, Joplin Transitional Kindergarten Teacher.

The targets are the youngest five-year-olds who might otherwise have been held back for a year.

The student-to-teacher ratio is lower, giving kids more individual time.

“Something that’s still going to be a routine they’re still going to get the learning but not so rushed,” said Cooper.

It touches on everything from figuring out the social environment of being in class… to the basics like learning letters and numbers.

“I have some that I traced with a yellow marker and we’re working on their first letter every day. So that is the benefit of Transitional Kindergarten is I can slow it down,” said Cooper.

Joplin is starting out with three transitional kindergarten classrooms at Cecil Floyd, Irving, and Eastmoreland elementary schools.

“This is a great start for them, kind of a building block on top of the kindergarten curriculum when they go to their classroom next year. So the beginning stages of kindergarten – so excited about that,” said Kris Garrett, Cecil Floyd Principal.