You could probably guess that attending a quality pre-K program results in better kindergarten readiness with improved vocabulary and skills. But research also shows that young children’s earliest learning experiences can have powerful long-term effects on their lives. Investing in quality pre-K programs yields a long list of benefits that go beyond test scores. Early learning impacts everything from cognitive and emotional growth to social achievement and adult life outcomes. Cognitive growth includes sensory and motor interactions with the world, as well as verbal skills.
Access to quality pre-K programs is an important part of helping youngsters get ready for school and a bright future beyond. Unfortunately, research shows that many American preschoolers do not have access to high-quality early learning experiences. Only 40% of 4-year-olds and less than 15% of 3-year-olds are served by quality pre-K programs across the country.
KEY AREAS OF WORK
High-quality pre-K for 3- and 4-year-olds, prioritizing underserved communities first
Clear expectations and communication between pre-K classrooms and kindergarten classrooms
Leadership that prioritizes quality instruction for all children in the early years and makes sure pre-K programs have the resources they need to be effective for kids
Family-friendly spaces, so families are engaged and welcomed
WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS
Access to quality pre-K opportunities is good for our communities and country. We know that quality pre-K makes a positive difference in a child’s ability to be successful in kindergarten and later in life.
Research has found that students who participate in quality pre-K opportunities: have improved learning outcomes, increase their educational success (more likely to graduate high school), earn higher income as adults, and produce long-term reductions in unemployment and crime.
Pre-K benefits all children but has even greater impact on disadvantaged children and children of color.
Pre-K can help narrow achievement gaps while boosting learning for all students.
Many American preschoolers do not have access to high-quality early learning opportunities, resulting in significant disparities in children’s early learning experiences. Research demonstrates that students who are enrolled in quality pre-kindergarten and full-day kindergarten learn foundational skills that support their continued literacy development.
Research shows that 3rd-grade reading proficiency is positively correlated with pre-K and kindergarten attendance – resulting in as much as a 16% - 25% increase in proficiency for African American, Latino, and ELL students.