Running Head: THE BENEFITS OF HIGH QUALITY PRE-K 1 The Benefits of High Quality Pre-Kindergarten Programs Sandra Powell Shorter College THE BENEFITS OF HIGH QUALITY PRE-K 2 The Benefits of High Quality Pre-K Programs Universal pre-kindergarten is the idea that all children, largely four-year-olds, should have access to a preschool program (Peters). States are calling for more than just an average day care center; they are promoting ‘high quality’ pre-kindergarten programs. According to ((NIEER), 2005), high quality pre-kindergarten programs are one in which you immediately see learning occurring.
Children are engaged in small groups reading books, building interesting structures with blocks, and determining what sinks and what floats at the water table. Research shows that children who attend high quality pre-kindergarten programs are less likely to be held back a grade, less likely to need special education and more likely to graduate from high school (as cited in Peters). The article claims that high quality pre-kindergarten programs help children develop emotionally and socially, as well as help them to develop the skills that they need to learn how to read, calculate math, and to progress in science.
School districts have realized that most children, especially those from low socio-economic backgrounds and minorities, arrive to kindergarten and early elementary schools far behind their peers. Therefore, they are seeking to improve student achievement by implementing high quality pre-kindergarten programs. An article by Sara Mead elaborates on how research shows that high quality pre-kindergarten programs can narrow the achievement gaps and build a foundation of success in early elementary schools (Mead, 2008).
In her article, Sara discusses how local school board members and superintendants need to realize how the importance of a high quality pre-kindergarten curriculum is paramount to a school’s mission in achieving academic success. THE BENEFITS OF HIGH QUALITY PRE-K 3 According to the article, one aspect of a high quality pre-kindergarten is having teachers that not only care and nurture children, but also are focused on educating children.
These teachers are necessary in helping children develop cognitively, academically, and socially. Sara comments on how research proves that teacher quality is important in a high quality pre-kindergarten program because high quality teachers foster good teacher-child interactions. As ((NIEER), 2005) states, highly educated pre-kindergarten teachers are more likely to develop a responsive and strong interpersonal relationship with each child which affects the child’s motivation to learn, social competence, and school achievement.
Another benefit of high quality pre-kindergarten programs is small class sizes with no more than 20 students per class. These classes consist of a lead teacher with an aid or two teachers collaborating. Small teacher-student ratios are beneficial because the teacher is able to work independently with students (Mead, 2008). Research shows young children learn best in small groups in which they can ask questions and receive more individualized teacher attention. When the group size is small, children are more likely to initiate activities on their own ((NIEER), 2005).
A high quality pre-kindergarten must have an aligned curriculum that expands through the entire early elementary school system. No particular curriculum best fits a pre-kindergarten program, but it must meet the academic needs of the children. The program must integrate a concentration in math, reading, language and reasoning skills, science, and block play. In her article on high quality pre-kindergarten programs, Sara Mead expresses that district leaders should make it a top priority to implement an aligned curriculum that extends to the third grade.
She states that if school districts adopt an aligned curriculum all students would achieve at or above grade level by the time they reach third grade (Mead, 2008). THE BENEFITS OF HIGH QUALITY PRE-K 4 High quality pre- kindergarten programs focus on the whole child and the family. These programs make sure that children receive the proper health screenings, such as vision and hearing. With these screenings, parents and teachers can identify issues early so the children can receive adequate intervention.
Research proves that children learn better when they are properly nourished; therefore, high quality pre-kindergarten programs consider the whole child ((NIEER), 2005). The benefits of a high quality pre-kindergarten program are endless. These programs are said to increase high school graduation rates, help children do better on standardized tests, reduce grade retention, reduce crime and delinquency, lower rates of teen pregnancy, lead to greater employment and higher wages as adults, and produce more stable families and stronger communities.
Research shows how children in Chicago, Michigan, and Maryland were more likely to graduate from high school than their peers, passed the state’s literacy and math tests, and are less likely to repeat a grade than their peers if they attended a high quality pre-kindergarten program (Roberts, 2009). The benefits of high quality pre-kindergarten programs outweigh the costs of implementing the program. High quality pre-k programs are integral to our society today. These articles show that not having a high quality pre-kindergarten program is detrimental to our children.
The articles provided a plethora of researched based information that proves the efficacy of high quality pre-kindergarten programs. Lower quality programs do not achieve the same results and may be harmful to children (Mead, 2008). THE BENEFITS OF HIGH QUALITY PRE-K5 All children should have access to high quality pre-kindergarten programs because they are more effective than a typical day care center or low- income based pre-kindergarten programs. High quality pre-kindergarten programs should be more affordable for all families.
Parents need to have a better selection of pre-kindergarten providers for their children. The articles state that high quality pre-k programs are expensive to finance, but that the end results make the expense worth it. The government should allow for universal “high” quality pre-kindergarten programs instead of universal pre-kindergarten programs. Our children need it and our future depends on it. THE BENEFITS OF HIGH QUALITY PRE-K 6 References (NIEER), N. I. (2005, June 13). Pewtrusts. org. Retrieved from http://www. pewtrusts. org: http://www. pewtrusts. rg/news_room_detail. aspx? id=19430 Mead, S. (2008, November). beyond the talk. Retrieved from http://www. beyondthetalk. org: http://www. beyondthetalk. org/resources/readings/Foundation-for-Success. pdf Peters, Z. (n. d. ). Educationa. com. Retrieved from http://www. education. com: http://www. education. com/magazine/article/universal_pre-k_gaining_traction/ Roberts, N. (2009, September 21). Examiner. com. Retrieved from http://www. examiner. coml: http://www. examiner. com/x-21281-Phoenix-Preschools-Examiner~y2009m9d21-The-benefits-of-preschool