With names culled from birth records and child-care centers, workers have already dialed up more than 135,000 parents of four-year-olds.
As a result of a new state law, California schools instituted transitional kindergarten to give 4-year-olds who were previously eligible for kindergarten an extra year to adjust to school and experience a less academically-oriented curriculum. But many thousands of those children are in classrooms with kindergartners, leaving teachers to figure out how to accommodate the new approach for 4-year-olds while preparing the 5-year-olds for 1st grade.
A once-empty preschool in south San Jose is now filled with 44 children, spending their days eagerly peering at insects through mega magnifying glasses or linking plastic gears to create contraptions. Most of the children at Eden Palms Child Development Center in San Jose are from families that are unable to pay for preschool. The students are some of the 10,000-plus children from low-income families throughout California.
The U.S. Department of Education announced today that the state will receive an additional $20 million in annual federal funding to further expand preschool services for 4-year-olds.
A new study on Chicago’s child-parent centers found that children attending a full day of preschool do even better on a range of kindergarten readiness assessments than those who attend preschool for just part of the day.
To give the neediest children a better shot at high-quality early learning opportunities, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made preschool expansion a focal point of his agenda. Early learning advocates laud the mayor for his plans, but still wonder if the city can reach its ambitious goal.
Child-parent centers that enroll children from preschool through third grade and require parental participation have been proven to have long-term academic benefits for children. To expand them, Chicago plans to borrow millions of dollars through a so-called “social impact bond” that pays back investors if children reach certain achievement benchmarks.
As New York City rolls out an ambitious plan to offer free full-day prekindergarten for tens of thousands of 4-year-olds this fall, community activists and union members in Chicago say it’s time for universal early childhood education and child care in the Windy City.
“This is a moment of fulfillment, a dream we’ve had for a long time finally coming to fruition,” de Blasio said at Inner Force Tots, a pre-K site in Brooklyn on Thursday morning.
As New York City expands its pre-K offerings, questions of how best to train principals and evaluate teachers have taken on new urgency.