In the article, “Pre-kindergarten programs under microscope,” then Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek stated one in three kindergarten students fails to reach the fourth grade on time. With this statistic, isn’t it about time pre-kindergarten programs are under the microscope? While different factors could come into play on why kindergarten students fail to reach the fourth grade on time, one of the main factors is likely their backgrounds in pre-kindergarten.

As your article points out, funding for pre-kindergarten comes from all over the place. There is no coherent or set approach to funding, or running pre-kindergarten programs for that matter. With this problem, equal opportunities are not provided for pre-kindergarten students. Can we expect our kindergarten students to be prepared and successful without proper education and equal opportunities before they enter kindergarten?

Coming from an early childhood educator’s standpoint, I say the answer is “No.”

While some may argue the necessity of pre-kindergarten education, I feel it is vital for students to receive this education. With kindergarten classrooms taking a more standards-based, academic approach, it is necessary for students to receive exposure to a pre-kindergarten classroom to prepare them for the academics presented in kindergarten. It is also important for students to participate in pre-kindergarten for socialization purposes.

Because kindergarten classrooms are taking a standards-based, academic approach (some schools have even cut nap time and recess), there is really no focus on socialization.

If a child comes in and does not know how to interact with other children or a teacher, they are already left behind because they are trying to get used to the environment instead of focusing on academics.

Maybe with pre-kindergarten programs being reviewed, the public will see the statistics.

If children are not being prepared for kindergarten or are having difficulty advancing to the next grade, perhaps pre-kindergarten should be a requirement.

If our state could organize funding and create set standards and expectations for pre-kindergarten classrooms, perhaps our children could receive an equal and quality education before they are introduced to mainstream school and could possibly be left behind.

The success of our children and their exposure to a quality education lies in our hands.

Shouldn’t we do what we can to provide them with not only what they deserve, but what has become a necessity for future success?

Laken Ellis

early childhood educator