Kindergartners with Pre-Kindergarten Experience

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Why This Indicator Matters

Preschool fosters children’s intellectual capabilities at an early age when they begin to develop their cognitive functions.[i] Findings from an evaluation of a school readiness program which subsidized attendance at public school and center-based and public school pre-K programs suggest that while children enrolled in the former had the highest gains in cognitive and language development, center-based childcare programs in the community may excel at fostering school readiness within racially and ethnically diverse populations and populations of children living in poverty.[ii] Similar analysis of Oklahoma’s universal pre-K program found enrollment in pre-K significantly improves scores on various school readiness measures, including letter-word identification, spelling, and applied problem solving, which contribute to students’ future academic success. [iii] Pre-K experience can also help children develop critical socio-emotional skills before reaching kindergarten, which research suggests are linked to improved outcomes in young adulthood across numerous domains, including education, employment, criminal activity, substance use, and mental health.[iv]Nationwide, Connecticut has the highest share of young children enrolled in school, according to analysis of the 2014-2016 period by the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2018 Kids Count book. [v]



[i] Diamond, A., Barnett, W. S., Thomas, J., & Munro, S. (2007). Preschool Program Improves Cognitive Control. Science (New York, N.Y.), 318(5855), 1387–1388. http://doi.org/10.1126/science.1151148

[ii] Winsler, A., Tran, H., Hartman, S. C., Madigan, A. L., Manfra, L., & Bleiker, C. (2008). School readiness gains made by ethnically diverse children in poverty attending center-based childcare and public school pre-kindergarten programs. Early Childhood Research Quarterly23(3), 314-329.

[iii] Gormley Jr, W. T., Gayer, T., Phillips, D., & Dawson, B. (2005). The effects of universal pre-K on cognitive development. Developmental psychology41(6), 872.

[iv] Jones, D. E., Greenberg, M., & Crowley, M. (2015). Early social-emotional functioning and public health: The relationship between kindergarten social competence and future wellness. American journal of public health105(11), 2283-2290.

[v]The Annie E. Casey Foundation, KIDS COUNT Data Center. Young Children (ages 4 and 540 not in school: 2014-16  (Table). Retrieved from https://www.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/aecf-2018kidscountdatabook-2018.pdf

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Definitions:

This indicator reports the percentage of children who had preschool experience prior to entering kindergarten. Pre-kindergarten experience is defined as regularly attending Head Start, nursery school, a licensed day care center, or public preschool program during the previous school year or summer. Note that prior kindergarten experience is self-reported by the parents or caregivers of children entering kindergarten, and can include preschool experience in various care settings.

 
 

Data Source:

State Department of Education, Unpublished Data, Academic Years 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2013, and 2015.

The percentages of kindergarteners with pre-kindergarten experience were tabulated by the State Department of Education.  

 

Footnotes: NA = Not Available