Getting Ready for School: Piloting Universal Prekindergarten in an Urban Countyedit
Investments in high-quality early care and education have been shown to reap societal benefits across the lives of the children served. A key intervention point is in the lives of 3- to 5-year olds during the period prior to entering kindergarten. Many jurisdictions have developed broad-based prekindergarten initiatives. This study reports on a pilot universal prekindergarten program in 24 sites in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Child assessment data were collected on 204 children from early care classrooms for 3- to 5-year olds across 3 time points by trained observers using 2 standardized instruments. Changes in achievement scores were shown to be significantly predicted by race, parental education level, and whether the family spoke English as a second language, with largest gains shown among children who were most behind at baseline. The findings serve to illuminate the developmental trajectory of children before kindergarten and how data can be used to inform practice and policy.