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2-048 - Preschool Selection, Sequences, and Persistence: Examining Programming and Child Development in the P-3 Continuum

Fri, March 22, 8:00 to 9:30am, Hilton Baltimore, Floor: Level 2, Key 11

Session Type: Paper Symposium

Integrative Statement

As policy-makers continue to expand preschool opportunities for children, a central concern is how disparate preschool programs and elementary school environments can be sequenced to best support children’s development. Indeed, developmentalists have highlighted the need for research on creating continuous learning experiences in early childhood (Stipek et al, 2017). Our symposium adds to this emerging literature by examining: how parents choose preschool programs; how preschool sequences influence children’s outcomes at kindergarten; and how preschool-grade 3 (P-3) environments can be structured to facilitate persistence.

The first study examines how families navigate and make choices among multiple pre-k options using family application data from NYC’s universal “Pre-K for All” program.

The next two studies look at how the preschool settings families select at ages 3 and 4 affect development. Study two considers the immediate impacts on school readiness from enrollment in a county preschool program at age 3 and the role of children’s age-4 classroom experiences in the persistence of program benefits at kindergarten entry. The third paper compares children’s outcomes at kindergarten entry after completing one of two different preschool sequences—Head Start at ages 3 & 4 or Head Start age 3 & pre-k at age 4—using integrated birth, social services, and school district linked data.

The final study extends into early elementary environments, where the authors use mixed methodology to study the implementation and impact on children’s outcomes of a unique county-level P-3 initiative that included preschool, summer learning interventions, school attendance supports, and family engagement activities.

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