There is strong evidence showing that young children who participate in high-quality pre-K programs enter school more ready to learn than their peers. The national Early Childhood Longitudinal Study—Kindergarten Cohort shows that students who attended a pre-K program scored higher on reading and math tests than children receiving parental care. Another study involving five states: Michigan, New Jersey, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia found that children in state pre-K scored 31 percent higher on vocabulary tests and 44 percent higher on math tests than those of non-participants. These gains placed pre-K children three to four months ahead of non-participants. The greatest gains occurred in print awareness, where children participating in pre-K had an 85 percent increase, which suggests these outcomes strongly predict later reading success.
Pre-K programs also have long-term effects on children. Longitudinal research conducted by Perry Preschool, Abecedarian shows that children that participated in high quality pre-K programs were more likely to graduate from high school, compared with 60 percent of children who didn’t. In adulthood, pre-K participants were also less likely to be arrested for violent crimes, more likely to be employed, and more likely to earn higher wages than those in the comparison group.
Related Content: Early Learning Services for Parents - Pre-kindergarten Services