Full-day kindergarten offers unequivocal benefits, especially for
low-income students who often come to school already behind. But in most
cases, CPS only pays for half-day kindergarten, forcing schools to
reach into their own already-stretched pockets to provide full-day
programs that many working parents prefer.
Illinois is the only state that has comprehensive K-12 social-emotional
learning standards, and experts say that it is best if students begin
learning these skills early on.
In Chicago, several pilot programs have gotten off the ground. But
full-scale implementation of social-emotional learning has been uneven.
CPS encourages schools to use balanced literacy, but many chart their
own course—a situation that could pose problems in a district with high
Experts are putting more emphasis on the transition from preschool to
kindergarten as a cornerstone for long-term success in school.
Parents whose children attend Educare early childhood center in Grand
Boulevard get an education in how to navigate Chicago’s maze of school
choices and in how to prepare their little ones for kindergarten.
Just as in kindergarten, preschool educators use a variety of programs
and strategies to teach literacy skills. And the question of what is
developmentally appropriate for young children is a key point of
Research has linked a host of benefits to full-day kindergarten, which education advocates and policymakers say should become the new standard.
When Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the new $500 million
Early Learning Challenge Grant competition in late May, educators
weren’t the only ones who joined him at the event. Duncan was
accompanied by an array of leaders from outside the education world who
endorsed Duncan’s call for increasing investment in early education. “To win the future, our children need a strong start,” Duncan said.
Graphic: Kindergarten mandate
Graphic: Latino kindergarten gap
Graphic: What should kindergarteners know?
Graphic: Kindergarten readiness
Graphic: Kindergarten report card