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 Preschool Graduation, USA

 

ScienceDaily (Oct. 21, 2010) — Two children, both age 3, enroll in publicly funded preschool. But they may have vastly different experiences: One child may attend preschool for 8 hours a day and be taught by a teacher with a bachelor’s degree while the other child may be in preschool for only a few hours a day, under the supervision of a teacher with a 2-year degree. Why is there so much variability and are these programs meeting their potential for adequately preparing youngsters for school?

 

In a new report in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, Robert C. Pianta (University of Virginia), W. Steven Barnett (Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey), Margaret Burchinal (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), and Kathy R. Thornburg (University of Missouri) review the current state of publicly funded preschool, what science has taught us about early childhood education, and offer suggestions for improving efficacy of these programs.

 

The programs that fall under the category of “publicly supported preschool education” (e.g., child care centers, Head Start, and state-funded pre-kindergarten) have such a wide variety of basic aims, funding, program models, and staff qualifications, it almost seems as though no two preschool programs are alike.

 

“Overall, preschool in the United States is a stunningly complex, wide-ranging, and highly varied assortment of early care and educational offerings that take place in very diverse settings and with often inadequate resources that are also constrained in how they may be used,” Pianta and his colleagues write. One reason for this variability is differences in the major government programs that fund them. For example, pre-kindergarten is often supported at the state and local levels while Head Start standards and regulations are determined at the federal level.

 

Despite all of these differences, numerous studies have shown that preschool improves the learning and development of young children, and that the benefits of preschool are long-lasting: Enrollment in preschool has been associated with less grade repetition, higher rates of high school graduation, and improved social behavior. Children from low-income homes in particular benefit from preschool education in comparison with their peers from high-income homes.

 

Read in Full: 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101021190617.htm



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