A Center Piece of the Pre-K Puzzle: Providing State Prekindergarten in Child-Care Centers
In New Mexico, child-care centers are required to provide services such as health screenings and parent gatherings for pre-K students, but those centers aren’t paid for by the state. In New York, a center director says she can’t pay her pre-K teachers as much as they would earn if they worked in a school-based classroom, making it hard to retain staff.
Those are among the views expressed by child-care center directors on their experiences in a new report by the Washington-based National Women’s Law Center.
The report, based on a series of interviews that the NWLC conducted with center directors from 14 states in 2006, examines the role that child-care centers play in enrolling thousands of children in state-financed pre-K programs.
“With the rapid growth of state prekindergarten programs, it is important to strengthen and expand efforts to involve child-care centers in providing high-quality programs, using strategies that have already been shown to work,” the authors write.
The authors recommend financing that can cover the “full range” of a center’s pre-K expenses, salaries for center pre-K teachers that are comparable to their counterparts’ salaries in schools, and flexibility in curriculum and assessment.
The study includes states such as Florida, New Jersey, New York, and Tennessee, which have a substantial number of child-care centers participating in their state pre-K programs.
A version of this article appeared in the December 19, 2007 edition of Education Week