The case for quality preschool

Updated 8/17/2021

American preschools have grown in popularity over the last few decades. It once was largely seen in private schools, but it has become a staple of public-school systems recently, too. There are now a number of various kindergarten readiness program options that parents can choose from.

Countless articles for parents of preschoolers get published in educational and parenting magazines every year, talking about the benefits for early education. This leads many parents to ask, at what age does preschool begin? The answer is that it can depend based on the institution and the state. Usually, preschool classes start around age three, though younger daycare programs may be considered preschool when certain educational markers are met.

This unique daycare preschool kindergarten combination makes it easier for parents to get quality child care for their children while also giving them a head start on their education at the same time. Contacting the local school board is often then best way to locate public and private options for preschool educational opportunities.

Learn more about the rise of preschools and why finding a quality preschool is crucial for your child’s well-being and educational journey.

Most people view preschool as a form of daycare, but studies are showing the education a toddler receives at this crucial developmental phase can have a momentous effect on his or her development and future. Access to preschool can have lasting impact on a child’s academic performance through college, and might affect the decisions and life choices made in adulthood.

One long term study, by Science Magazine, followed 1,539 children born in 1979 and 1980 in Chicagos lowest income neighborhoods until age 28. Nearly 1,000 of those students participated in Chicago’s Child Parent Center Education Program, one of the oldest federally funded daycare and preschool programs in the nation. The remainder of the students participated in traditional kindergarten.

Researchers found the students who attended preschool were 28 percent less likely to develop alcohol or drug problems, and 22 percent less likely to be arrested for a felony than the students who went straight to kindergarten. What’s more, the preschool attendees were 24 percent more likely to enroll in a four year college than the kindergarten students. One theory on why this occurs is that the students who went through preschool were simply more prepared for the academic environment than their peers. This suggests that preschool is more than simply daycare.

Day care norwalk ct

Access to preschool remains a problem though. Simply put, not everyone has the financial means, or geographic possibility, to enroll their child in preschool. This is especially true in lower income neighborhoods in which the only possibility is family child care. State governments are not helping, defunding preschool programs across the country.

A proposal by President Obama would allocate $1.4 billion in 2014, and $75 billion over the next decade to expand access to quality preschool. Not only would students reap the benefits of this expansion, becoming better prepared for further academic ventures, but also working families would benefit from access to higher quality daycare.

James Heckman, a Nobel prize winning economist, has demonstrated a yield of 7 to 10 percent on every dollar spent on quality early childhood education as students graduate and contribute to the economy. If daycare and preschool make such a difference, one must wonder what must be done to further demonstrate the value of federal investment.