Kentucky Needs Universal Pre-K

Katie Cohen

What is Universal Pre-K?

Universal Pre-K is a government-funded, early childhood education and care program available to all 4-year-olds can.  Enrollment is not based on eligibility criteria like family income.

Why Universal Pre-K?

Pre-K teaches communication skills to early learners

Early learners are provided with the opportunity to socialize with classmates throughout the day.  With support from educators, they learn to listen and communicate in academic tasks. Communication skills are vital for Kindergarten and beyond. 

Pre-K teaches pre-literacy skills to early learners

Early learners participate in an optimal amount of academic tasks focused on pre-literacy skills.  Exposure to the alphabet, rhyming, initial sound identification, oral reading, and choral responses gives early learners with a head start on academics they will face in Kindergarten and beyond. 

Pre-K promotes motor skills in early learners

During academic and play activities, early learners increase motor skills.  When they run, skip, and play outside, gross motor skills develop. Fine motor skills develop when they pick up a pencil (and write), color, sort items, build with blocks, race toy cars, play cards/ matching games, use utensils to eat, and perform hygiene tasks including hair brushing and teeth brushing.

Pre-K provides care to early learners

Preschool provides early learners with sufficient time to learn and play.  The length of the day is accommodating for many families’ work schedules which helps families and children wish schedules and financially. 

Pre-K provides nutrition to early learners

During the day, early learners eat nutritious meals and snacks that give them the energy they need to do their best.  They eat breakfast in the morning when they arrive and lunch at midday. Following their nap, early learners eat a snack.  Mealtime is very structured and is emphasized as an important part of the day. Students learn to get themselves ready for meals by cleaning up their areas and washing their hands.  They sit at a table to eat with peers which promotes social-emotional development, as well as, conversation and communication skills. 

Pre-K connects early learners to health care

Early learners are required to have vision and hearing screenings to enroll in preschool.  By attending these health-related visits, families also gain access to further health care including dental, mental health, nutritional, and general medicine.  

Pre-K prepares early learners for Kindergarten and beyond

Data indicates that students who attended preschool are more likely to succeed in Kindergarten and academically throughout elementary school.  Data also indicates that students who attend preschool are less likely to be referred for special education services, less likely to drop out of high school, and less likely to commit violent crimes. 

Pre-K connects early learners to social services

By attending preschool, early learners and families gain access to social services.  Social workers and other service workers can assist families with living conditions, family dynamics, behavioral health needs, and much more.

Pre-K provides early learners with structure

Structure is vital to the learning environment.  By attending preschool, early learners acquire skills to follow expectations and routines more independently.  Structure is provided during morning routines, transitions, whole group activities, handwash routines, mealtime, rest time, and dismissal. This skillset helps early learners transition to Kindergarten. 

Pre-K keeps early learners clean and healthy

Early learners learn the importance of hygiene via a variety of lessons, as well as structured handwashing multiple times throughout each day.  The preschool curriculum includes instruction on foods, exercise, and healthy choices. 

Pre-K promotes independent thinking in early learners

As part of the preschool curriculum, early learners learn to identify their first and last names, address, phone number, and birthday.  Early learners also practice problem-solving skills through authentic experiences. They have many opportunities to demonstrate knowledge.  

Pre-K teaches early learners how to “do school”

For early learners who haven’t had the opportunity to “do school”, it can be a challenge to start the school year in Kindergarten where they must follow routines and expectations as well as learn academics. Universal Pre-K provides the school experience to early learners before enrolling in Kindergarten making them more prepared to perform their best during Kindergarten and beyond. 

Wouldn’t it be great for Universal Pre-K to be an opportunity for all 4-year-olds?  

Please show support! Attend the Rally for Pre-K on August 10th 2-4 at Brown Park

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