Pre-K may not improve performance in our public grade schools. However, quality Pre-K can stimulate the huge early learning potential from birth to age five. Without quality control being a part of Pre-K programs, children can fall behind in kindergarten and never catch up. This may lead to failure, dropping out of high school and entering the juvenile justice system.
A new Peabody study of the Tennessee Voluntary Pre-K program reports that Pre-K works, but the gains are not sustained through the third grade. This begs the question what is going on in TN in Pre-K, kindergarten, and 1st through 3rd grade?
- Are parents involved in Pre-k education programs for 3 & 4 year olds?
- Is Early Intervention available for children with emotional and learning differences?
- Is Special Ed available to children with disabilities?
- How does Pre-K in TN compare with other states in regarding quality programming?
- How does Pre-K in TN link to learning in kindergarten and grades 1, 2 and 3?
- Are after-school & summer programs with some focus on math and literacy available?
Promise the Children is committed to improving our public education in the U.S.A. Our primary focus is on quality Pre-K. We know that closing the achievement gap has to start at birth and continue with quality Pre-K and grade school curricula focusing on vocabulary, communication, and literacy skills as well as mathematics. After-school and summer programs should be fun and part of the public education system. We know that there must be a coordinated effort between pre-schools, kindergartens and grade schools to achieve better education.
To evaluate a Pre-K program effectively, children should be considered on an individual basis.Pre-K children have varied skills that develop at different rates.For instance, one of my children attended a quality pre-school and was a great talker using a large vocabulary by the age of 3 years. But this child did not read or write much until 3rd grade, and experienced difficulty throughout grade school and high school. This child went on to graduate Phi Beta Kappa from college, and earn a Ph.D. Today’s early detection and intervention programs could have helped a great deal.
To quote from EdCentral “…. the most impressive gains from Pre-K programs don’t appear until after third grade. Analysis of programs ranging from Head Start to the renowned Perry Preschool program, have found the important long-term benefits of Pre-K. Students …. (they) were more likely to graduate high school and be employed, less likely to commit violent crimes, and less likely to experience teen pregnancy.”