Study: Kids do well with pre-k and half-k

Children who attend pre-k and half-day kindergarten are better readers in third grade than children with no preschool but full-day kindergarten, concludes Starting Out Right by Jim Hull of the Center for Public Education. Third-grade reading is a strong predictor of school success.

The benefit was the greatest for the neediest students, children from low-income, Hispanic, black and immigrant families. English Language Learners showed especially strong gains. However, children of less-educated mothers did not  benefit as much as others.

The study didn’t try to evaluate the quality of children’s pre-K program, notes NCTQ, which speculates children of less-educated mothers were more likely to attend pre-K programs with ineffective teachers.

 The feds should require pre-k programs such as Head Start to evaluate teacher quality, NCTQ advocates, citing Watching Teachers Work, a study on observing pre-k and early elementary teachers in the classroom.

 Disadvantaged children rarely participate in “stimulating, content-rich conversations that provide them with the cognitive and social-emotional skills they need to succeed throughout their years in school,” Watching Teachers Work finds.  “Observation tools allow for measurements that are far less subjective than many of the checklists and rubrics currently used today,” the report says.

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  1. First off… duh. Of course the neediest children will benefit in reading from pre-K because the exposure to reading is fundamentally important during those years and the neediest children are the least likely to be read to.

    As for the “highly qualified” suggestion… phfaw! Any sort of government oversight into what is done during pre-K will more likely constrain the better programs while the worse programs won’t bother to comply anyway.

    • The preschools do/will continue to have the same problems that the k-12 schools in the same areas have; there just aren’t enough adults capable of “stimulating, content-rich conversations” who either live in the community or are willing to teach there.

      Let’s concentrate on the k-12 system first; explicitly teach appropriate behavior and habits and enforce their use, use direct instruction and effective curricula (Singapore or Saxon math, Core Knowledge or classical etc) to deliver content across all disciplines. Also, let’s teach all our students that having/siring kids in MS-HS is just plain wrong; toxic for them and toxic for their kids.

  2. Deirdre Mundy says:

    Is it the quality of the Pre-K? Or is it that moms who opt for half-day-K are more likely to be home and less likely to be using K as ‘free daycare?’