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PA kindergarten teachers report social-emotional benefits of high-quality pre-K programs

There is resounding support for high-quality pre-kindergarten among Pennsylvania kindergarten teachers, according to a report jointly released May 28 by the Pre-K for PA Campaign and PSEA.

The report, “Ready for Success: Kindergarten Teachers Support Investments in High-Quality Pre-K,” relied on the findings of a survey conducted of PSEA members who teach kindergarten about the role that access to high-quality, publicly funded pre-K plays in school readiness.

“Kindergarten teachers know and understand that a quality pre-K experience provides each child entering kindergarten with a growth mindset and a readiness to succeed,” said PSEA Treasurer Jeff Ney. “Their personal experiences mirror what researchers have uncovered – that children who attend high-quality pre-K have a solid foundation for learning, which promotes increased student growth and achievement.”

The PSEA survey of kindergarten teachers finds:

  • 96 percent agree that students who attend a high-quality pre-K program are ready for success in kindergarten; and
  • 98 percent agree that high-quality, publicly funded pre-K is an important tool for preparing at-risk children for kindergarten.

Responses from the kindergarten teachers surveyed support research showing that access to high-quality, publicly funded pre-K programs benefits children socially and emotionally, helps cognitive development through physical activity, promotes healthy brain development through positive interactions, and helps children develop early literacy skills. The top three skills identified by the teachers surveyed as most important for early learning programs were physical well-being and motor development, emotional development, and social development.

More than 97,000 – or 56 percent – of eligible 3- and 4-year-olds do not have access to high-quality pre-K. The Pre-K for PA Campaign is calling for a $50 million increase in the 2019-20 state budget; $40 million for Pre-K Counts and $10 million for the Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program (HSSAP). This investment will provide access to an additional 5,500 children.

The report notes that the commonwealth still ranks 18th of the 30 states investing in high-quality pre-K, and aggressive steps must be taken to put Pennsylvania children on a level playing field with their peers in those states.

Read the full report at