Q: What are the benefits of universal preschool?
A: There are many benefits of universal preschool for both the adult caregiver and young child, but the most significant benefit is in providing school readiness access for ALL children.
Achieving school readiness requires more than providing a child with a basic understanding of the school environment, the alphabet, and circle time. It is also about building wrap-around support within the learning ecosystem that includes health and vision screenings, nutrition education, early intervention for learning disabilities, speech resources, and so much more. Every child deserves these resources in their community.
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) reaffirmed its commitment to promoting universal school readiness by asserting universal preschools must:
- Give all children access to the opportunities that promote school success.
- Recognize and support children’s individual differences.
- Establish reasonable and appropriate expectations for what children should be able to do when they enter school.
For more visit NAEYC’s statement: Where we stand on school readiness (pdf).
Due to limited funding, most preschools throughout Mid-Michigan are income-based. Families qualify for a preschool spot according to family size and income level. However, the state government’s commitment to provide access for all children is trending in the right direction with increased preschool funding. Some districts, including Lansing School District, are finding ways to offer preschool to every four-year-old.
The joy of learning through play, social emotional strategies, and having a safe place to seek answers to questions about a child’s development is valuable beyond measure. Keep reading as I continue to explore the benefits of preschool all month long in Mrs. Pizzo’s Workshop.