IO Education and the state of Alabama have worked together to create a model universal pre-k program.
Pre-k has recently come to light as one of the most important factors in closing the achievement gap and ensuring that all students start school at the same level. Children who come from working families and low-income households are oftentimes deprived of the attention and resources that children from more affluent families have access to. If young children are not exposed to frequent stimulation, are not engaged in learning activities, and do not hear a wide range of vocabulary spoken to them, by the time they start grade school they are likely to already be behind.
Pre-k advocates say that providing all children with access to a high-quality learning experience starting before they enter grade school will help them catch up to their higher-income peers. Pre-k can ensure equity by helping students to start school with the same scope of knowledge. Because the socio-economic achievement gap continues to grow at a worrying rate, universal access to pre-k is a solution with exciting potential.
Because of the importance of providing access to pre-k, many states have been proactive in creating universal pre-k initiatives. The government has awarded pre-k grants to 18 states, with five states receiving development grants to create models for pre-k expansion. These model states will develop systems to provide universal pre-k and serve as exemplars for other states.
Read more about this initiative here.
One of these model states is Alabama, a state that IO Education has been working with over the past year to develop their exemplar pre-k program. We have greatly enjoyed our endeavors with Alabama and have learned a great deal from the IO Education/Alabama partnership. We are proud of the achievements Alabama has made and are excited to see the success they have in creating an exceptional and accessible pre-k program.