What Works with Pre-K

What Works with Pre-K: An Academic and Parental Perspective

Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) programs are specifically designed to ensure that children are ready for kindergarten and will be succeeding at school by the time they enter the 3rd grade. Investing in high quality pre-K education, results in tremendous benefits for children and schools.

Here are the 3 benefits of Pre-K education:

What Works with Pre-K: An Academic and Parental Perspective

  1. Outperformance in school

Research has shown that kids who attend good pre-K programs have better reading, writing and math skills than home based preschoolers. They outperform their peers in grade school and have higher test scores.


  1. Decrease in need for special education classes and lower retention rates.

There are also long term benefits of pre-K education. Communities believe that pre-K programs result in a decrease in the number of students that are referred to special education classes in grade school and a decrease in the number of students that are retained in primary grades. This is because good quality pre-K programs develop a child’s intellectual capabilities from a very young age making them more competent in grade school. They therefore do not need special education classes to cope with their studies, as they have a strong base that is able to take on the curriculum of each class in grade school with ease.


  1. Enhancing social & emotional development

Apart from developing their academic skills, pre-K programs also boost the social skills of children. Kids learn to interact with other kids and gain self confidence to work independently. It is very important to concentrate on the emotional and social development of kids, so that they do not struggle with behavioral issues when they are in school. They learn how to pay attention in class and behave with other students.


What do Parents Prefer?


As interest in pre-K education has increased over the years, there have been many programs accessible to parents. But what makes a pre-K program stand out in terms of quality? The main factors are as follows:


  1. Highly trained teachers with proficiency in early childhood education
  2. Low teacher-student ratio
  3. Small class sizes
  4. Personalized curriculum that emphasizes individual attention on each child


For pre-K programs in Irving, Texas at the Cimarron Recreation Center, Valley Ranch and Mustang Park Recreation Center, Las Colinas, the authors contacted parents of their preferences and the above factors were borne out. Parents prefer low teacher-student ration for preschool and summer programs.   Methodologies which use technology tools and games to reinforce concepts of reading, writing and math in kids are also preferred by parents so as not to make it boring and repetitive. Children therefore become more excited and eager to attend the next class.


Another parental preference is to receive with a day-to-day progress report. At the end of each class, should be able to take their work home so that parents can see their daily progress and be assured that something valuable has been taught to their child every day.


Make Learning Year-Round – Summers Too


It is also necessary for education to continue during the summer break as well, aiming to maintain the learning flow for kids at this critical age. Over time, research has proven that summer breaks lead to learning loss. Summer breaks result in kids forgetting what they had previously learnt during the school term. While their reading abilities may not be affected if they continue to read books during the summer, their math skills may suffer. For this reason it is important for children to attend summer programs that are not only fun, but also help maintain their math and science skills. Summer programs are designed for kids of all ages, and are made interactive and educational. Kids are also able to boost their creative skills and may discover an interest in photography, film making etc. High quality educational games and tools help them sustain their basics in various subjects so that when they go back to school after the break they do not feel as if they are out of touch with what they had learnt.

Article courtesy of RARE Learning. Contact them at: 972-567-1771 or info@rarelearning.com


Center for Public Education – The Research on Pre-K

Interviews with RARE Learning professionals and parents


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