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voluntary pre-kWhen it comes to early childhood education, there are various options for parents to choose from. Some families opt for child care at daycare facilities before kids enter kindergarten; others decide that preschool and voluntary pre-k programs will prepare their children for what’s ahead. What’s right for one child may not be the best course for another, and it’s important for parents to keep their individual child’s needs in mind when pursuing early education options.

That being said, voluntary pre-k programs have been shown to be extremely beneficial for brain development. These years are particularly crucial for growth, both in educational situations and at home. But while we know that reading aloud to young children helps to stimulate brain development, only 50% of infants and toddlers are read to by their parents. When there’s such a huge gap, along with an ideal opportunity for learning, pre k programs can help kids gain the skills and foundation of knowledge they need to succeed throughout their lifetime.

How Voluntary Pre-K Programs Help Kids Thrive

They’ll be ready for school
Research has shown that when kids start behind in school, they’ll often stay behind throughout the years. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, 88% of kids who are poor readers in first grade will continue to be in fourth grade. In addition, 74% of those poor readers in third grade remain so when they enter high school. Problems like these continue to hold children back from realizing their true potential throughout their schooling. But pre k programs have been shown to prepare kids for school by improving their social and cognitive skills. When kids go to pre k, they’ll be in a much better position to feel prepared for school.

It bridges the income/racial gap
In states that provide mandated pre k for all children, research has shown that participation in pre k programs had a much more significant impact on pre-reading and pre-writing scores than other factors like family income or race. Children across all racial groups showed academic improvement, but the effect was especially noticeable for Hispanic children. Essentially, this shows that access to early education is imperative for all children, but it’s particularly so for children from families of lower income brackets or of different ethnic backgrounds.

It has a long term impact
Pre k participation will certainly help prepare children for kindergarten and elementary school, but its effects last well beyond the early years. Research shows that children who attend pre k programs tend to have higher IQs and tend to be higher achievers than those who don’t attend. And other studies have shown that students who attend preschool and pre-k are more likely to graduate high school, are less likely to commit and be arrested for crimes, and have a greater likelihood of being employed and with higher wages. Therefore, the decision to enroll your child in pre k can make a substantial difference in his or her ability to succeed later in life.

If you’re considering enrolling your child in a voluntary pre-k program, Growing Room Child Development Center should be at the top of your list. To find out more, contact us today.