Research shows that preschool programs—if they’re
of high quality—can provide an enormous boost
that changes children’s lives forever.
Cynthia E. Lamy
As most educators know, children from low-income households often arrive at the kindergarten door substantially behind children from higher-income households. On average, children from
poor families score far below their peers from higher-income families in early vocabulary and literacy
development, in early math, and in the social skills
they need to get along well in their classrooms (Halle
et al., 2009; Lee & Burkham, 2002).
This gap in school readiness receives much less
attention than the test score gaps that hound these
children throughout their school careers or the vast
gulfs in high school graduation rates and college
enrollment rates that are the end results. But the early
delay in pre-academic progress largely predicts those
later, more visible shortfalls (Burchinal, et al., 2011;
Duncan & Magnuson, 2005). Children who enter
school lagging far behind don’t usually catch up.
It’s no mystery why children from low-income
families often start kindergarten so far behind. These
children are less likely to have the early educational
support that is so crucial for the development of their