Topic: Pre-K

Publication

Early Learning: Birth to Third Grade Continuum
SREB Annotated Bibliography, 2014

Recent studies indicate that persistent achievement gaps among children begin as early as 18 months, years before most publicly funded prekindergarten programs offer enrollment. Early childhood development necessitates more than access to pre-K at age four. Proper brain development requires adequate nutrition, access to quality healthcare, and other early interventions to promote social, emotional, and physical well-being. Likewise, research supports such a holistic approach to early education — including recommendations to states on implementing parent engagement opportunities, early literacy interventions and home visiting programs — to ensure that every child enters school ready to learn. Policy-makers should look for ways to align these programs from birth through third grade to ease the transition into school, especially for at-risk children.

The following studies provide a sampling of research on policy topics with nationwide applicability.

Publication

Early Learning: Program Quality in Early Childhood Education
SREB Annotated Bibliography, 2014

Overwhelmingly, research shows that program quality is a major determinant in the achievement gains for young children who participate in early education programs. Teacher quality, in particular, is closely related to positive educational outcomes for preschool participants. Research shows that children in programs whose lead and supporting teachers have higher education qualifications and ongoing professional development show the greatest gains. Also, research shows that the use of developmentally appropriate curricula predicts program quality, as does a high degree of direct instruction that comes from smaller staff-child ratios and focused small group activities. Evidence suggests that these positive outcomes benefit a diverse range of children from various racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The development of Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRISs) shows promise in giving states a tool to assess program quality accurately and link together disjointed components of early childhood education systems.

The following studies provide a sampling of research on policy topics with nationwide applicability.

Publication

Early Learning: Return on Investment
SREB Annotated Bibliography, 2014

Findings in these studies identify specific elements in pre-K programs that are most beneficial. Evidence from state programs in Arkansas, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia is also instructive. Studies provide a sampling of research on policy topics with nationwide applicability.

  • Cost-benefit and effect size analyses of pre-K programs
  • Catch up vs. fade out: Do pre-K’s positive effects persist through K-12?
  • Evaluations of pre-K programs in SREB states