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What Grown-ups Should Know About Preschool

Quality programs set children up for future success


May 2014

Last month the state legislature passed Indiana's first investment in preschool education. The bill will provide about $10 million in state funding for high-quality preschool programs for approximately 1,500 low-income children. Despite support for the bill in the state House, the state Senate's approval was stalled until the last minute, and the bill in its final form is modest compared to Governor Pence's original request for funding to serve 40,000 children.

The link between high-quality preschool and later adolescent and adult academic, Health, and wealth outcomes is well supported by scientific evidence. But research is slow to inform public policy in Indiana. Indiana was only one of nine states to provide no state funding for preschool education even though over half of 4th and 8th grade children in Indiana public schools are unable to read or perform math at grade level according to the Children's Defense Fund.

Why are the preschool years so important for later success?

Four key developmental shifts take place between the ages of 3 and 6 that respond especially well to high-quality preschool environments in unique and targeted ways.


Children with good self-regulation are skilled at controlling their emotions (e.g., avoiding angry outbursts), their thinking (e.g., sustaining attention to a difficult task) and their behavior (e.g., sitting still). Self-regulation skills begin to develop during preschool years and are scaffolded by preschool teachers (e.g., raise your hand before speaking during circle time).

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Tags: Health, In This Issue

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