In a newly released report, the Pennsylvania Principals Association, in partnership with the Pre-K for PA Campaign, conducted a statewide survey to gauge how principals in elementary schools across Pennsylvania feel about high-quality pre-k and its importance in building the necessary foundation for children entering kindergarten with the tools to succeed.
With overwhelming results, more than 97% of elementary school principals agree high-quality pre-k is vital for the success of kindergarten students as they move throughout grades. The responses from the statewide survey were from a wide-mix of school districts, including rural, urban, and suburban.
Research has proven the impacts access to high-quality pre-k has on our children. Some of the impacts principals reported noticing from those students who participate in a high-quality pre-k program include age appropriate behavior, reading readiness, a demonstration of early numeracy concepts, a reduced need for remediation, and a reduction in IEP services. Additional research has shown access to pre-k is especially beneficial for low-income students.
United Way of Pennsylvania is proud to partner with the Pre-K for PA campaign to bring awareness to the need of high-quality pre-k programs throughout the Commonwealth. With continued investments in this work, there is no doubt our students will improve their academic success. However, we are faced with a challenge of providing these programs to those in need.
Approximately 64 percent, or 2 in 3, eligible preschoolers do not have the opportunity to attend a publicly funded, high -quality pre-k program. Nearly 420 of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts enroll a kindergarten class where 40 percent or more children who are eligible for high-quality pre-k do not have the opportunity. According to the report, there are only 32 commonwealth school districts where 80 percent or more kindergarten children who are eligible for publicly funded, high-quality pre-k had the opportunity to attend.
UWP and the Pre-K for PA campaign will continue to fight for our children to have the access they need to enter kindergarten ready to learn. With continued increased investments into pre-k and head start programs we can begin to close the gap between those who are struggling to get the jump start they need to be successful students. We encourage you to read the report and stay informed on efforts to give every Pennsylvania child the opportunity to attend a high-quality pre-k program. You can sign-up for the Pre-K for PA campaign here.