Studies looking into the benefits of full day pre-K programs demonstrate that they have a positive impact on children's educational and social development. Moreover, both anecdotal evidence and measurable results from research have revealed the specific benefits of full-day programs compared to half-day programs.
In this post, we'll discuss some of the areas in which pre-K education can have a significant impact.
Pre-K paves the way for further success
Eva-Marie Ayala recently wrote on the subject for the Dallas Morning News, and she spoke with Alan Cohen, who oversees the Dallas school district's pre-K. He notes that, within a few years, a wide achievement gap develops between children who attend pre-K programs, and those who don't.
Specifically, he asserts that a lack of kindergarten readiness leads to an achievement gap by the time children reach the third grade.
Other studies have similarly demonstrated the value of full-day preschool programs. For example, the Dallas News article cites a University of Minnesota study conducted this past November, which showed that children who had a seven-hour instructional day performed better academically than their peers. In addition, they behaved better in class, had fewer absences and better health compared to their peers who were enrolled in a three-hour program.
Arthur Reynolds, a child development researcher who has studied the effects of preschool since the 1980s, says that significant instructional time early on allows children to take part in greater learning. He further emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive curriculum that includes literacy, reading, math and play-based learning.
One of the advantages of a full-day preschool program is that teachers can lead their class in group interaction, play-based learning and field trips. In a recent post, we discussed how teachers can integrate math into preschool classrooms.
Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, is also a proponent of devoting more time to math instruction early on. He says that the longer length of full-day programs allows teachers to dedicate more time to math.
Studies have also shown that language recognition skills are higher among students who attend a full-day preschool program.
Reynolds puts these findings in context. He says that the national proficiency rate for students by the end of pre-K is being able to recognize 10 letters as well as some related words. However, while 80 percent of students in the full-day program were able to meet this rate, only 60 percent in the half-day program fulfilled the benchmark. This gap has a profound effect as children continue in school, allowing some to learn to read and write more easily.
While there are proponents on either side of the debate, Cohen doesn't see much room for ambiguity. According to him, kindergarten readiness establishes the foundation for student achievement going forward. Children who attend pre-K programs are given the preparatory skills and experience to excel in kindergarten and beyond.
If you are interested in learning more about this subject, please refer to ProSolutions Training's comprehensive course menu. There you'll find classes, including "Curriculum: The Foundation of a Strong Educational Program," "Brain Power! Cognitive Development in Preschoolers" as well as range of other courses.
In addition to these courses, we also offer other curriculum planning and professional resources for early childhood educators. These offerings include a CDA course and a CDA Renewal course for professionals seeking the CDA Credential, which is administered and awarded by the Council for Professional Recognition. In 2013, ProSolutions Training became the first online training company to earn the honor of being a formal partner of the Council. Contact us to learn more.