Early Childhood Readiness

Wyoming Department of Education > For District Leadership > Early Childhood Readiness

Contact Information

Early Learning Specialist/Early Literacy Specialist/TANF Preschool Grant Administrator
Amy Reyes
(307) 777-7708
amy.reyes@wyo.gov
Special Education Early Childhood Specialist
Deana Smith
(307) 777-5326
deana.smith@wyo.gov
Head Start Collaboration Office Director
Helena Wagner
(307) 777-2057
helena.wagner@wyo.gov

Without a High-Quality Early Education, At-Risk Children are 25% more likely to drop out of school, 40% more likely to become a teen parent, 50% more likely to be placed in special education, 60% more likely to never attend college, and 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime. High-Quality Preschool Available to every child.

Early Learning is a critical component of a child’s education. Research has linked early intervention with both cognitive and socio-emotional gains since the early 20th century, and clearly shows that children enrolled in a form of early learning programs benefit by receiving an education before kindergarten.

Studies show that children enrolled in these programs showcase the following benefits:

  • Better behavioral patterns
  • Higher IQ scores when enrolling in kindergarten
  • Faster learning
  • Higher socio-economic outcomes later in life
  • Between 1.3% to 3.5% higher income over the course of their careers

Likewise, studies show that children that are behind when they enter kindergarten tend to remain behind for their entire educational career, and even beyond. These gaps in achievement are difficult and expensive to close with K-12 education alone, and the improved earnings show that early intervention is an intelligent investment.

Early Childhood Care and Education

Early childhood care and education (ECCE) is more than preparation for primary school. It aims at the holistic development of a child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs in order to build a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and well-being. ECCE has the possibility to nurture caring, capable and responsible future citizens.

Did You Know

The overwhelming evidence shows that children who enter kindergarten behind are likely to remain behind throughout their educational careers and beyond. These gaps in achievement are difficult and expensive to close with K-12 education alone. We can help ensure children show up to kindergarten ready to learn by providing our youngest learners with options to access high-quality early childhood programs from ages zero to five—where they can develop the full range of skills necessary to be successful in school and life.

Benefits of Preschool Starting kindergarten was a big deal when you were growing up, but now many kids are experiencing their first school milestone even earlier. Preschool programs for young children are becoming increasingly common, with 68 percent of four-year-olds and 40 percent of three-year-olds enrolled in a preschool program in 2017, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

You might think of preschool as an optional bonus for kids before they enter the “real” school system. But there are undeniable benefits of preschool that parents should consider when deciding whether these educational programs are right for their little ones.

Preschool offers many hidden benefits to children and their families, from encouraging healthy development to providing parents a more affordable alternative to day care.

1. Preschool teaches children to follow directions. Every parent knows the frustration of repeating themselves over and over while their young child completely ignores them. What parents may not realize is that following directions is a skill that children hone over time—and preschool can help make this happen.

2. Preschool helps children adjust to kindergarten. It can be a big adjustment for a young child to navigate the workings of a classroom for the first time in kindergarten. Preschool programs, even those that are only part-time, can help kids make the transition.

“Exposure to school routines in preschool prepares them for the structure and expectation of kindergarten,” says Amy Reyes, State Early Learning Specialist. In addition to seeing the basic rhythm of a school day, “children also learn hygiene routines like washing hands before eating and how to take care of their belongings in their cubby.”

3. Preschool establishes social and emotional development. Preschool is much more about developing social-emotional skills than it is about developing academic skills.

“Preschool provides a safe but challenging environment for children to learn how to manage getting along with others and self regulation. “These experiences help them explore different feelings and create the foundation for self-regulation.”

4. Publicly funded preschool can save parents money. There’s no arguing with the fact that childcare in the United States is expensive. The Center for American Progress reports that it costs an average of $760 per month to send a preschooler to a licensed childcare center, an amount that puts many working parents in a financially tight spot.

Preschool is an option that can help offset this cost while providing high-quality education to kids in their formative years. Head Start programs are available for free to families who meet income eligibility requirements. Many areas also offer free or low-cost preschools that are publicly funded. Preschool programs like these can add up to thousands of dollars of savings for parents who are currently funding full-time childcare.

5. Preschool provides opportunities for play. Is play really a benefit of preschool? It might seem simple, but research shows that playful experiences prepare children for “deeper learning,” especially in essential skills like executive functioning. Preschool exposes children to many different types of play that they may not have access to at home.

6. Preschool encourages physical development. Believe it or not, physical development directly impacts a child’s ability to learn. Fine motor skills are necessary for kids to hold a pencil and learn to write as they get older, and gross motor skills are the whole-body movements that allow kids to balance and coordinate their actions. .

7. Preschool can reduce the need for special education services. Special education services are often available to children who aren’t achieving developmental milestones or performing at a rate comparable to their peers in the classroom. Though these services are an essential intervention for kids who need them, the research is clear that preschool can often prevent kids from falling behind in the first place.

A report from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) states, “Children who attend high-quality preschool programs are less likely to utilize special education services or be retained in their grade, and are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, and succeed in their careers than those who have not attended high-quality preschool programs.”

8. Preschool contributes to education equality. Preschool makes a difference that goes far beyond individual children and their families. The same DOE report shows that access to high-quality preprimary education can be the key that unlocks education equality across races, geography and income.4

The report states that children who don’t have access to the benefits of preschool may begin kindergarten at a strong disadvantage in both academic and social-emotional skills. “For some children, starting out school from behind can trap them in a cycle of continuous catch-up in their learning,” according to the DOE. Grants and publicly funded preschool programs like Head Start are working to expand access to early education so that the benefits of preschool are available to all children across the nation.

Preschool is more than play You can see that these surprising benefits of preschool extend far beyond giving kids the chance to play with their friends all day. These benefits of preschool are all thanks to supportive, trained preschool teachers who make learning come alive in their early childhood classrooms each day.

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Early Literacy

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