All Day Preschool Better Prepares Children for Kindergarten
Researchers from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs studied 1,000 3-and 4-year-olds enrolled in 11 Chicago schools. Students who attended preschool seven hours a day were compared to those who attended three hour programs, then tested at the commencement of preschool to see if they were socially and academically prepared to begin kindergarten.
The study found 59 percent of the students enrolled in the half-day program to be ready compared to 81 percent of the all-day preschool attendees.
In the fall of 2012, 78 percent of white students were prepared to enter kindergarten compared to 74 percent of black children and 62 percent of Native American and Hispanic students.
Early childhood education advocates say the results how Minnesota should invest in more preschool programs, and believe this move could help minimize the achievement gap between white students and minority students.
The study’s lead author Arthur Reynolds feels that the state should consider funding all-day preschool programs so all students are ready to learn when they enter school.
Last year, $40 million in funding for pre-K scholarships was approved for low- income families. Thanks to those dollars 5,800 students were able to attend preschool, but as many as 15,000 more students still need access to pre-K scholarships.
The importance of early childhood education cannot be stressed enough. This study goes to prove how important classroom hours are to best prepare students for kindergarten and the school years to follow. I am glad to see Minnesota contributed $40 million to pre-K last year, and hope the state can find ways to add even more dollars to help additional low-income families send their children to preschool.