Why Invest In a Quality Pre-K Initiative?

The Early Years Are Learning Years

  • The human brain develops more rapidly between birth and age five than during any other subsequent period.1
  • The first five years of life are a time of enormous social-emotional, physical and cognitive growth. These early years provide a window of opportunity to set either a sturdy or fragile stage for what follows.2
  • A child's ability to be attentive, focused and follow directions emerges in the early years. Structured early learning fosters these abilities for later success in school and life.3

Quality Pre-K Education Prepares Children For Success In School.

  • Children who participate in high-quality early childhood education develop better language skills, score higher in school-readiness tests and have better social skills and fewer behavioral problems once they enter school.4
  • Children with high-quality early learning experiences are 40% less likely to need special education or be held back a grade. 5
  • Children from low-income families who participate in high-quality early childhood education programs show the most benefits - they repeat fewer grades and learn at higher levels.6
  • A child who enters school reading below grade level has only a one in eight chance of catching up.7
  • Kindergarten teachers in Georgia , the first state with voluntary, universal pre-K for four-year olds, report that children who participated in pre-K were better prepared for kindergarten, especially in the areas of pre-reading, pre-math and social skills.8

Early Education Will Pay Off

  • Adults who participated in high-quality early childhood education programs during their preschool years are more likely to be literate and enrolled in post-secondary education and are less likely to be school dropouts, dependent on welfare or arrested for criminal activity.9
  • The Chicago Child-Parent Center's evaluation of 989 children from low-income Chicago families found that for every dollar invested in high-quality preschool programs, $7.14 (in 1998 dollars) was returned to society in increased earnings for participants and reduced costs to society for remedial education and crime.10

References

  1. Shonkoff, Jack P. & Philips, Deborah A. (Eds). From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Child Development. National Research Council, Institute of Medicine , Washington : National Academy Press, 2000.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Bowman, B., Donovan, M.S. & Burns, M.S. Eager to Learn. National Research Council, Washington: National Academy Press, 2000.
  4. The Children of the Cost, Quality, and Outcomes Study Go To School. NICHD, June 1999, p. 2 and Karoly, Lynn, et al, Investing in Our Children: What We Know and Don’t Know About the Costs and Benefits of Early Childhood Interventions. RAND , 1998, xv.
  5. Reynolds, A.J., Temple , J.A., Robertson, D.L., & Mann, E.A. Long-term Effects of Early Childhood Intervention on Education Achievement and Juvenile Arrest. Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 285, No. 18. 2001.
  6. The Children of the Cost, Quality, and Outcomes Study Go To School. NICHD, June 1999, p. 2 and Karoly, Lynn, et al, Investing in Our Children: What We Know and Don’t Know About the Costs and Benefits of Early Childhood Interventions. RAND , 1998, xv.
  7. Juel, Connie. Learning to Read and Write: A Longitudinal Study of 54 Children from First through Fourth Grades. Journal of Educational Psychology, v. 80, n. 4, 1988, pp. 437-447.
  8. Vecchiotti, Sara. Kindergarten: The Overlooked School Year. The Foundation for Child Development, October, 2001, p. 24
  9. Reynolds, A.J., Temple , J.A., Robertson, D.L., & Mann, E.A. Long-term Effects of Early Childhood Intervention on Education Achievement and Juvenile Arrest. Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 285, No. 18. 2001.
  10. Ibid.
Last Update: June 6, 2014