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ERIC Number: ED537496
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jun
Pages: 24
Abstractor: ERIC
Making Pre-Kindergarten Work for Low-Income Working Families. CLASP Child Care and Early Education Series. Policy Paper No. 1
Schumacher, Rachel; Hamm, Katie; Ewen, Danielle
Center for Law and Social Policy, Inc. (CLASP)
A growing number of state leaders believe that it is essential to expand high-quality early learning and development opportunities for all young children before they reach kindergarten. A key component of this strategy is providing access to voluntary, high-quality pre-kindergarten programs, especially for low-income children. Over the last few years, a number of governors have announced their intention to expand pre-kindergarten. Yet for states to improve the chances of children who might otherwise start school at a disadvantage, pre-kindergarten programs must be designed with their families in mind. It is critical that pre-kindergarten policies promote healthy child development "and" be supportive of the needs of low-income working families. The opportunity to make state pre-kindergarten programs work for working families is often lost. The vast majority of state pre-kindergarten programs offer part-day services limited to the school year. States can help working families who rely on child care access state pre-kindergarten programs by including community-based child care settings in the delivery of pre-kindergarten. This model has the potential to break the traditional barrier between pre-kindergarten and child care policies and to address the needs of children in working families in a coordinated way, as well as to improve the various early care and education settings where children of working families already spend significant time. Although the vast majority of states now allow pre-kindergarten to be delivered in community-based early care and education settings, simply allowing this option does not in itself guarantee that low-income working families' needs will be met. A handful of states are working to realize these opportunities, but more could be done. This paper is based on a review of the first in-depth national research on the 29 states that, as of 2004, allowed mixed delivery in their pre-kindergarten programs. The review focused on promising practices and ideas for improvement. This paper: (1) provides evidence that policymakers need to review their pre-kindergarten initiatives to ensure maximum access for children in working families, especially low-income children; (2) describes some models states and localities are using to be responsive to low-income working families' needs by delivering pre-kindergarten in community-based settings; and (3) highlights key strategies to address the needs of low-income working families and examines the extent to which state pre-kindergarten policies currently do so. (Contains 3 figures and 65 endnotes.)
Center for Law and Social Policy. 1015 15th Street NW Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-906-8000; Fax: 202-842-2885; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Joyce Foundation
Authoring Institution: Center for Law and Social Policy
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families