PA Principals Association, Early Learning Advocates in Montco. Urge Support for Substantial Investments in High-Quality Pre-K
West Pottsgrove, PA (Sept. 20, 2017)—Elementary School Principals Resoundingly Support Pre-K Investments details findings of a recent statewide survey of elementary school principals to better understand their perception of high-quality pre-k and its importance in building the foundation necessary for children to enter kindergarten ready to succeed. Nearly 99 percent agree that publicly funded, high-quality pre-k is an important tool for preparing children for kindergarten, particularly those at risk.Representatives from the Pennsylvania Principals Association, the statewide Pre-K for PA campaign, Pottsgrove School District and the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit Pre-K Counts program today discussed high-quality pre-k and its effectiveness in providing a strong academic foundation before a child enters kindergarten, and urged the state to increase investments in this once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity during a press conference at West Pottsgrove Elementary School.
The event coincided with the statewide release of a new report, “Elementary School Principals Resoundingly Support Pre-K Investments,” produced by the Pennsylvania Principals Association in partnership with the statewide Pre-K for PA campaign. The report shows nearly 99 percent of elementary school principals agree that publicly funded, high-quality pre-k is an important tool for preparing children for kindergarten, particularly those at risk.
“High-quality pre-k provides the opportunity for children to get ready for school, helping to build their early literacy skills, which provides children with the foundation to have the stamina and skills to be successful in elementary school,” said Terri Koehler, Principal of West Pottsgrove Elementary School.
Elementary principals’ perceptions confirm research that shows that high-quality pre-k is especially beneficial for children from low-income families, helping put them at the same starting line as their more economically advantaged peers by the time they start school.
Dr. Lois Robinson, Director of the Office of Student Services for the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit added, “When families bring their children into the classroom, they are so thrilled to have access to high-quality pre-k, and to be able to walk their children to and from this enriching, safe environment. Some of them thought it would never happen. However, for many, it doesn’t ever happen.”
Approximately 64 percent or 2 in 3 eligible preschoolers don’t have the opportunity to attend publicly funded, high-quality pre-k.
According to the report, more than 97 percent of elementary school principals in the Commonwealth strongly agree or agree that additional state investments in publicly funded, high-quality pre-k should be made. They join an ever-growing list of supporters who have articulated strong support for state funding increases in pre-k, which also includes governors and legislators from both sides of the aisle, business and education leaders, law enforcement officials, high-ranking military officers, pediatricians and world-class athletes.
In addition, principals, who are on the frontline of delivering quality education, reported they can easily distinguish between those students who attended high-quality pre-k and those who missed this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“When a child enters kindergarten unable to recognize some letters and numbers, complete a puzzle, or lacks other skills that can set that child on a path to succeed in school, that child is at an unfair disadvantage,” said Dr. Paul Healey, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Principals Association.
“Principals face challenges leveling the playing field to ensure that child can reach his or her full potential. If every child who needs it had access to high-quality pre-k, we would see fewer children struggling or needing special education or remediation. We would see more self-confident children who love education as much as we do.”
Responses to the survey were received from a diverse group of rural, suburban and urban school principals who are responsible for educating nearly 60 percent of elementary students statewide. They reported improvements in age-appropriate behaviors and the ability to reach academic milestones in students who attended high-quality pre-k.
“Too many children at risk of school failure miss the opportunity to attend high-quality publicly funded pre-kindergarten. Pre-k works! Decades of research has proven it and this survey adds the validation of Pennsylvania’s elementary principals to the value of the public investment,” said Joan Benso, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, a founding member of the Pre-K for PA Campaign.
“Elementary School Principals Resoundingly Support Pre-K Investments” is available here.