Head Start or Public Pre-K? The Association Between Preschool Type and School Readiness for Dual Language Leaners
Dual language learners (DLLs) – young children whose families speak a language other than English at home – are a growing demographic who make up nearly a third of the U.S. public preschool population, yet the system remains primarily focused on monolingual, English-speaking children. Although preschool participation has been found to be at least as supportive of school readiness for DLLs as for their English-only peers, a gap remains between these two groups in terms of English language and literacy at kindergarten entry. Further, preschool programs vary widely, and little is known about which type of preschool best supports DLLs’ school readiness. This paper examines differences in school readiness between DLLs who participated in two types of publicly funded preschool – Head Start and public school-based pre-K – among Spanish-speaking DLLs from predominantly low-income families in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The results of a difference-in-differences analysis show that students who attended public school-based pre-K experienced greater gains in both quantitative reasoning and English literacy than their peers who attended Head Start. These findings suggest that public pre-K may be more effective than Head Start at supporting DLLs’ academic school readiness.
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DELAYED LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT IN SOCIOECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED CHILDREN: WHY IT MATTERS FOR THEIR SCHOOL READINESS Ainsworth, Wendi (Georgetown University, 2013)Language and vocabulary development have been proven by extensive research to be foundational components to a child's school readiness and long-term academic experience. Conversely, research has revealed that delays in ...