The Benefits of Preschool: A Case Study on Chicago Pre-K

Studies have shown that children enrolled in preschool are more likely to have higher test scores, better socialization skills, less grade repetition and need for Special Ed., higher graduation rates, increased earnings, less crime, and less teen pregnancy, abortion and smoking. In terms of numbers, children who participated in a preschool program are substantially less likely to have ever been on welfare as an adult—41%, compared to just 20% of those who were not involved in preschool programs—and nearly three times as likely to own a home (36% vs. 13% of non-preschool-educated people).

With today’s stagnant job market, it isn’t unusual for workers to accept job offers that require a move. For those with children, this can often be a difficult decision to make. Parents want to be sure they are making a choice that is not only beneficial to them and their professional aspirations, but to their children’s continued growth and overall well-being.

With these statistics in mind, it becomes apparent that choosing the right school district for your children is every bit as important as finding a good job, perhaps more so. Thankfully, many cities are starting to understand the importance of a quality education, and are improving their public school systems accordingly.

Take Chicago, for example: In addition to being home to countless Chicago attractions that are both entertaining and educational, the Windy City now offers preschool to all children between the ages of 3 and 5 who are legal residents of Chicago. Preschool for All is a half-day preschool program that’s open to children who are at least 3, but not yet 5 on or before September 1st of the current school year. Proof of residency is required, as all children must reside within the city of Chicago.

The curriculum for Preschool for All is designed “to promote a comprehensive approach to early childhood development.” By focusing on basic reading, writing, and math skills, Preschool for All prepares children for entry into Kindergarten, giving them a leg up on other children who are not similarly prepared.

For those parents who are inclined to educate their children themselves, Preschool for All offers Virtual Pre-K, an interactive learning opportunity that can be experienced from the comfort of your own home.  Virtual Pre-K has partnered with PBS on the Ready to Learn program in order to offer a quality experience to children and parents alike. This way, the youngest Chicagoans can be assured of a quality education regardless of whether they are formally enrolled in a preschool program or being taught by their parents.

Regardless of whether you choose to send your child to a public or private preschool, or take advantage of at-home options, it is increasingly important to begin your child’s education early in order to prepare them for school. This is something you must consider when contemplating whether to move; with enough research and information, you will make the choice that is right for you and your family.

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