High-quality preschool education can have substantial positive impacts on children’s early learning and development, as well as longer-term outcomes like graduating from high school and attending college. But the boost in skills young children experience can fade out as they move on to kindergarten and elementary school, exacerbating the achievement gap between children from more- versus less-advantaged backgrounds.
This fadeout pattern has drawn greater attention to students’ experiences after preschool, in early elementary school, and helped increase support for improving curricular alignment from preschool to third grade. Alignment refers to the range of policies and practices designed to launch young children on a positive developmental pathway, with the early elementary grades continuing to build on what children learn in preschool. Join Leigh Parise as she talks with MDRC’s Meghan McCormick about measuring quality in preschool programs and the challenges of implementing aligned curricula.