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7 Facts About Pre-K Programs

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Find out whether pre-kindergarten programs really give your kid an educational boost.

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What is Pre-K?

Pre-K programs are funded at the state level, and they prepare preschoolers to be ready for kindergarten and successful in elementary school. All Pre-K programs follow high standards, serve 3 to 4 year olds, and focus on school readiness.

1. Both Public and Private Pre-K Programs Exist

70% of state-funded pre-K programs are delievered by public school systems. Other pre-K programs are governed by community agencies like Head Start or private providers.

2. Some States Offer Preschool For All

Some states have universal pre-K programs that provide a free preschool education to all children regardless of income or the child's abilities. States with universal pre-K programs include Georgia, Florida, Maine, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

3. Some States Offer Preschool for Some

States that don't have universal pre-K programs sometimes have targeted pre-K programs that provide a preschool education free of charge for select families. Children with risks for learning or from low-income families may be eligible to enroll.

4. Pre-K Really Works

Research has shown that children who attend pre-K programs perform better in school. A study on Oklahoma's universal pre-K program showed that children who attended had stronger math, reading, and writing skills than children who enrolled in Head Start or did not attend a public preschool program.

5. Pre-K Programs Hold High Standards for Teachers

Pre-K programs hold high standards for teachers. Quality pre-K programs have lead teachers with a bachelors degree and a specialization in early childhood education.

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6. Student to Staff Ratio Should Ideally Be About 10:1

The desired staff to child ratio should be at least 10 students for every adult. Quality programs offer at least one meal per day, and have a maximum class size of 20 students.

7. The Majority of States Offer Some Kind of Pre-K Program

Currently, 38 of 50 states and the District of Columbia offer some kind of pre-K program. The pre-K movement is lobbying states to increase funding. Find out what kind of funding your state has for pre-K programs by looking at the State Preschool Yearbook from National Institute for Early Education Research.

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