Children in Oklahoma do not wait for kindergarten to begin public education; there's preschool for anyone who wants it.
Watch the video to learn about the program and hear from a mother on how the program gives her child and others an opportunity they otherwise wouldn't be able to afford.
Universal pre-kindergarten is a program in which all preschool-aged children are guaranteed a full-day spot in a quality-instruction classroom regardless of family income. Early childhood education can often be prohibitively expensive for lower-income families, and for many families it is one of their largest annual expenses. Since preschool conveys lasting educational, social, and economic benefits, increasing access can help level the playing field between children from higher income and lower income families.
Education can be provided directly by public schools, or by private and charter programs under contract with the county. All programs must include an educational component addressing one or more of the following: literacy, numeracy, cognitive development, socio-emotional development, and motor skills. The program is aimed at preparing students to thrive academically once they enter kindergarten.
Universal preschool programs are typically aimed at all 4-year-olds, but in some cases include 3-year-olds as well.
The modeling results included here assumed a spot in high-quality, full-day preschool for all low-income 3 and 4-year olds.
The modeling results assume a free spot in high-quality, full-day preschool for all low-income 3 and 4-year olds.
The studies we used to project various impacts of expanded pre-kindergarten assessed only full-day (six hour) programs using a high-quality curriculum. Half-day programs, or programs using lower-quality curriculum standards, may not generate similar results.
To estimate the impact of a program or policy, we use systematic literature reviews to determine causal pathways and effect sizes. Well-researched interventions that have robust, high-quality evaluations allow us to model the impact of an intervention with greater certainty. However, sometimes interventions have limited evidence and not all of the outcomes that are likely to be associated with the intervention have been studied. In those cases, we can only model what is available in the evidence base. We urge future research to take the following gaps into consideration.
Substance Abuse - While studies of the Chicago Child-Parent Centers program, another early-childhood intervention, showed a decrease in drug and alcohol use among the enrolled population, there is insufficient research to model the impact of preschool on drug and alcohol use.
Child Abuse and Neglect, and Out-of-Home Placements - Some studies have indicated that children who attend preschool may be less likely to experience child abuse or neglect, and subsequently less likely to experience an out-of-home placement. More research is needed to determine the magnitude of this impact.
Use of Welfare Programs - Previous studies have shown inconclusive or mixed results on the impact of preschool on the use of welfare programs in adulthood. More research is needed before this can be modeled.