We have known for years that an unacceptably large number of children by age 5 are already lacking in competencies fundamental to their school success – most notably in the areas of spoken language and literacy, self-regulation, social-emotional competence, and early math.
We also know that the long-term effects of early gaps in achievement and social functioning are so pronounced that effective and efficient interventions targeted toward these gaps in the preschool period are essential, not only to the developmental success of children but also to the economic and social health of communities.
A strong system of quality, early childhood education is a means by which policymakers can address these issues, as studies have shown consistently positive effects of preschool.
South Carolina created the Half-Day Child Development Program in 1984, making it one of the first states to implement state-funded 4K, and more recently the Child Development Education Pilot Program (CDEPP). Both programs seek to improve school readiness in at-risk 4-year-olds through publicly funded 4K and as of the 2010-2011 school year serve more than half of our state’s 4-year-olds.