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Children's readiness gains in publically funded, community-based pre-kindergarten programs for 4 year olds and preschool for 3 year olds

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Description:
Many states provide public funding to facilitate school readiness for community-based pre-K and preschool programs for 4 year old children and 'at risk' 3 year old children. Little research exists on the school readiness gains of children participating in these "garden variety" community-based programs. Objective The current study evaluated the child outcome gains in cognitive, communication and social/learning domains of 4 year old pre-K children and 3 year old preschool children participating in publicly funded, community-based programs. Methods A sample of 132 children (86 four year olds and 46 three year olds) participating in publicly funded community pre-K and preschool programs were assessed at the beginning and end of the year. Paired samples t tests were conducted to determine if the mean scores on posttests were significantly different than pretests on measures using SPSS software. Results Findings revealed the 4 year old children significantly increased their standard scores (SS) in cognitive, receptive vocabulary and social-emotional development. No change in SS was reported on the communication subtest. There was no statistically significant change in SS of the 3 year olds in any of the areas assessed. Conclusions Children attending the "garden variety" publicly supported community based pre-K programs make notable gains in school readiness, but growth rates remained stable for the 3 year olds. Mean scores at pretest on some of the subtests were below average indicating the programs are reaching at-risk children. Findings suggest differences in the structural variables of the two programs may have contributed to the outcomes. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
Country:
United States
State(s):
Florida

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