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Study: Pre-K Boosts Growth in Kindergarten

Georgia offers a universal pre-K program. North Carolina does not.
Georgia offers a universal pre-K program. North Carolina does not.
Georgia offers a universal pre-K program. North Carolina does not.
Georgia offers a universal pre-K program. North Carolina does not.

Researchers at the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute have more evidence that children who attend pre-K see better outcomes down the road.

The study followed children in Georgia's universal pre-K program. Georgia's state-funded universal pre-K program  serves more than 80,000 four-year-olds in a variety of settings, including public school systems, private providers, and blended Head Start/pre-K classrooms.

Ellen Peisner-Feinberg, a senior scientist with the institute, said pre-K programs improved toddlers' early skills like counting and naming letters.

"And then as they got to kindergarten we were seeing greater growth than you might expect," she said. "And so it certainly would be a good thing for it to be available to more children."

North Carolina does not offer pre-K to every four year old. Low-income families can apply for subsidized pre-K in North Carolina, but many counties have long waiting lists. The program has enough funding for about 30,000 children.

Researchers will continue to follow the children's progress into third grade.

Copyright 2016 North Carolina Public Radio

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