Why Preschool is the ‘Most Important Year’ In a Child’s Development | Deborah Farmer Kris | 1 Min Read

Publicly funded pre-K programs enjoy broad public and political support, largely because of research suggesting that preschool graduates enjoy both short-term and long-term benefits, including improved academic and school readinesshigher graduation rates, and lower incarceration rates. Public preschool is also a financial benefit to lower- and middle-class parents, as quality pre-K can cost as much as a college tuition.

“We are at a really critical moment for pre-K in the United States,” said Suzanne Bouffard, an education researcher and author of the newly published book The Most Important Year: Pre-Kindergarten and the Future of Our Children. In 2016, enrollment in state-funded preschool programs reached an all-time high of nearly 1.5 million children in 43 states.

While Bouffard applauds the momentum to make pre-K more accessible, she said policy makers are not paying enough attention to what is happening in these classrooms.

“We need to look at how we do pre-K, not just whether we do it,” said Bouffard. Without this vision, not only will students be poorly served, lawmakers may ultimately say, “Well, we tried that, we funded it, and it didn’t work.”

“Quality,” she said, “really matters.”

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Deborah Farmer Kris is a Senior Parenting Columnist at Intrepid Ed News. This article was originally published on MindShift on Sept. 15, 2017. Click here to read more.

Deborah Farmer Kris

A writer, teacher, parent, and child development expert, Deborah Farmer Kris writes regularly for PBS KIDS for Parents and NPR’s MindShift; her work has been featured several times in The Washington Post; and she is the author of the All the Time picture book series (coming out in 2022) focused on social-emotional growth. A popular speaker, Deborah has a B.A. in English, a B.S. in Education, and an M.Ed. in Counseling Psychology.Mostly, she loves finding and sharing nuggets of practical wisdom that can help kids and families thrive — including her own. You can follow her on Twitter @dfkris, contact her at [email protected], or visit her website: Parenthood365 (https://www.parenthood365.com/)

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