As important as preschool is, the quality of the early elementary years is also critical and shouldn’t be ignored, says a new report by the Education Commission of the States, a education policy think tank.
- Kindergarten is required to be “full day” in 14 states. The actual length of a kindergarten day can vary from two to seven hours.
- Nineteen states, plus the District of Columbia, require schools to have a plan for transitioning children from preschool to kindergarten.
- Eighteen states and D.C. require holding kids back in third grade if they are deemed not ready for fourth grade.
- Thirty-six states and D.C. emphasize social-emotional learning in grades K-3. Five states and D.C., include social-emotional learning in their definition of school readiness.
Experts in early education often make the point that the impact preschool has on students is directly tied to the quality of their early elementary experiences, but this is the first systemic policy scan I’ve seen in the time I’ve been covering the topic. Many of the items they gathered data on are areas widely held to be important for early learning.
- Kindergarten Today: Less Play, More Academics
- States Far From Uniform in Commitment to Kindergarten
- As Preschool Ascends, Is Kindergarten Being Left Behind?
for the latest news on policies, practices, and trends in early childhood education.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.