We have known for years that too many children lack competencies fundamental to their school success. This unfortunately happens because of things they don’t learn by age 5 — 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 these early gaps are so pronounced that effective and efficient interventions in the preschool period are essential, not only to the success of children but also to the economic and social health of communities.
A strong system of high-quality, early childhood education can address these issues, as studies have shown consistently positive effects of high-quality 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. Both programs seek to improve school readiness in at-risk 4-year-olds through publicly funded 4K, and they serve more than half of our state’s 4-year-olds.