Although kindergarten is the traditional start of our education system, the truth is not every child enters this first year on equal footing. For kids who start school without early education in the PreK years, this readiness gap can be the beginning of years of low school achievement. This 2012 report by the Public Policy Institute of California looks at types of childcare, particularly among children without English-speaking parents, and examines the relationship between preschool attendance and kindergarten academic success.
The Haas, Jr. Fund-supported study finds that center-based preschool significantly improves kindergarten reading skills, especially for these linguistically isolated children. By funding more center-based preschool and expanding its successes to mathematics as well as reading, California policymakers will have a potent tool for tackling our state’s school readiness gaps.