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Research Report

Helping All Children Become Kindergarten-Ready

Recommendations for an Effective Early Childhood Program

November 16, 2023, By Eva Bohn, Research Associate

Key Insights

Children growing up in poverty have the most to gain from Early Childhood Education Centers (ECECs), but they have the lowest enrollment rates. In the U.S., only 48% of children from low-income households are considered kindergarten-ready at entry compared to 75% of their higher-income counterparts.

Unfortunately, gaps in kindergarten readiness can translate into academic achievement gaps throughout a child’s life. Research shows that enrollment in an ECEC can improve kindergarten readiness, but early childhood education in the U.S. is expensive. Many families, especially low-income ones, are unable to afford it.

Further, when low-income children attend early childhood education centers, the centers are typically of lower quality than the ones attended by higher-income children. Even when low-income children can attend a high-quality ECEC, these centers may not be prepared to fulfill their more complex needs.

This report describes how ECECs can effectively improve kindergarten readiness for all children, especially low-income ones. Read the key takeaways below or download the full report.

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