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ERIC Number: ED559309
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Mar
Pages: 37
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 36
Supporting Immigrant Families' Access to Prekindergarten
Gelatt, Julia; Adams, Gina; Huerta, Sandra
Urban Institute
In recent years, many states have expanded their state-funded prekindergarten programs, drawing on evidence that public investments in early childhood education bring substantial returns in children's educational trajectories and a more skilled future workforce. Evidence also suggests that returns to early education may be larger for children of immigrants (defined as children with at least one parent born outside of the United States, including refugees) than for other children. Yet children of immigrants and of English language learners (ELLs) remain underrepresented in early education programs such as prekindergarten. Obstacles such as parents' lack of awareness of available programs, language barriers, logistical barriers to enrollment, and lack of comfort with available programs can all prevent immigrant families from enrolling their children. Given that children of immigrants form a growing share of the population of young children in the country, policymakers wishing to ensure that their prekindergarten programs are reaching children who could benefit from early education must continue to work to attract and include immigrant families and ELLs. This report is intended to help those interested in improving participation--from program staff to state directors and policymakers--learn from the experiences of other communities about ways to facilitate immigrant families' enrollment in public prekindergarten programs. To understand what strategies programs can adopt to enroll more children of immigrants, the authors conducted more than 40 telephone interviews with local prekindergarten program directors, outreach specialists, English as a second language (ESL) specialists, state prekindergarten directors, directors of other early childhood education programs such as Head Start, and national early childhood education specialists in communities and states across the country involved with diverse types of early childhood education programs. The strategies described fall into four main categories: outreach, enrollment assistance, building relationships with parents, and building immigrant-friendly prekindergarten programs. For each strategy, the authors describe actions used by local programs and regional program directors and discuss some of the policies, funding, and infrastructure at the state level that they identified as being helpful for this work. Some strategies involve substantial investments of resources and staff time, while others are quite simple and inexpensive to implement. The following are appended: (1) Examples of Programs Integrating Several Strategies for Including Immigrant Families; and (2) List of Interviewees.
Urban Institute. 2100 M Street NW, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 202-261-5687; Fax: 202-467-5775; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Kindergarten; Primary Education; Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Annie E. Casey Foundation
Authoring Institution: Urban Institute
Identifiers - Location: California; District of Columbia; Florida; Maine; Maryland; Nebraska; New Jersey; North Carolina; Oklahoma; Washington