Is preschool worth it? Policymakers, parents, researchers and us, at NPR Ed, have spent a lot of time thinking about this question.
We know that most pre-kindergarten programs do a good job of improving ‘ specific skills like phonics and counting, as well as broader social and emotional behaviors, by the time students enter kindergarten. Just this week, a study looking at more than 20,000 students in a state-funded preschool program in Virginia found that kids made large improvements in their alphabet recognition skills.
“Pre-kindergarten and early education programs are incredibly important,” says Kenneth Dodge, the lead author on the study and the director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy. “Especially for parents, for business leaders — because of the workforce development aspect — and for policy makers who are spending the money on it.”
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