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Dr. Cathy Grace
Director of Early Childhood Development
Thought leaders in early childhood development discuss the benefits of full-day Kindergarten
Investments in early childhood are vital to the success of our nation's youth. Extensive research has shown that early childhood programs significantly increase a child's chances of avoiding the prison pipeline. Furthermore, these programs have well-documented economic and societal value. Studies have shown that investments in quality early education can produce a rate of return to society significantly higher than returns to most stock market investments or traditional economic development projects.
Despite these encouraging reports, thousands of children across the country are still waiting for the chance to participate in quality early childhood programs. CDF fully understands the need for consistent, quality education and care beginning at birth. Our nation simply can’t afford not to significantly increase investments in early childhood development and care, or to keep leaving so many poor babies and toddlers behind.
The State of America's Children® 2012, a compilation of the most recent and reliable national and state-by-state data on key child indicators, including early childhood education and care. Among other selections, the Early Childhood section of the report includes state data Head Start enrollment, the cost of child care and child care subsidies, the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit, the Child Care and Development Fund, Pre-K enrollment, and state-by-state comparisons of child care center regulations. Only 3 percent of eligible infants and toddlers are able to secure spots in Early Head Start due to limited funding. Learn more about what our failure to invest in children in the early years means for all of us through our "Be Careful What You Cut” campaign".
In the 21st century, we have new common core standards setting high expectations for every child including kindergarteners. We need to prepare all of our children to compete in this global economy but for millions of children in the United States there is a missing half-step in their early learning years. Full-day kindergarten (Full-Day K) boosts children’s cognitive learning, creative problem-solving skills, and social competence. Join us in our campaign to ensure every state and the District of Columbia guarantees every child with access to high-quality, publicly funded Full-Day K. Click on our interactive map to find out the status of Full-Day K in your state and download your state-specific fact sheet to arm yourself with the latest information.
Be sure to check out the 2012 Children in the States one-page fact sheets which provide the most recent and reliable information on children in your state. Find out how often a child is born into poverty in your state. The information includes child population, educational achievement, child welfare statistics, state rankings and more. Share our 2012 Children in the States map and fact sheets at your next community or school board meeting.
Increasing Access to Full-Day K: A Key Strategy for Boosting Learning and Closing Achievement Gaps for Children describes the current reality of Full-Day K in the country and provides a summary of state funding patterns. A concise discussion of how students benefit from full-day kindergarten, its place in the PreK-3rd grade early learning continuum, and its relevance in the context of the Common Core State Standards is provided. National, state and local level policy recommendations are provided so all children have equal access to publicly funded Full-Day K.
The Addressing Achievement Gaps Symposium “A Strong Start: Positioning Young Black Boys for Educational Success” which took place in June 2011, was devoted to the challenges facing Black boys in their early years. The event took place earlier this month. CDF partnered with ETS to explore the challenges facing this vulnerable population and the opportunities to position young Black boys for educational success.
Head Start has proven results. Children who participate are school ready, less likely to need special education, more likely to graduate high school and go on to college. Check out Angie’s story, and tell Congress, don’t cut Head Start.