Universal Pre-Kindergarten: #UPK!

By Vital Village

On May 6th Boston Mayor Martin J Walsh announced the launch of a Universal Pre-Kindergarten Advisory Committee for the city of Boston.

Led by Jeri Robinson, Vice President for Education and Family Learning at the Boston Children’s Museum and Jason Sachs, Director of Early Childhood for Boston Public Schools, the committee is charged with developing a strategy to support an ambitious goal:

By 2018, to double the number of four year olds in full-day, high quality, pre-kindergarten programs led by certified teachers.

With this announcement the City of Boston connects to the national movement  proposed by President Obama to support universal access to pre-K.

It is well known that a large percentage of children in the United States simply do not have access to pre-school, and that the quality of pre-school education varies.

A recent study of students in Boston Public Schools found that prekindergarten programs with coaching systems and math and language curricula were associated with moderate-to-large impact on language, literacy, and math skills, as well as, benefits for socio-emotional skills.

With the launch of this committee, we take a first solid step towards making a significant investment in supporting a strong start for the youngest students.

Significant challenges exist and require thoughtful consideration:  geographic location and access, quality, community and parent engagement in the process, classroom features and environment, developmentally-appropriate curricula.  There is a need for creative and thoughtful approaches to supporting the success of this bold endeavor. What are your suggestions?

Posted In: Innovations in Education, Pre-K