Over the past decade, new and emerging research on brain development and early learning programs has significantly contributed to the policy debate on school readiness. Legislators and other state policymakers have learned from this research about the impact of quality kindergarten and pre-kindergarten programs on later success in school. As a result, states have been re-examining their investments in kindergarten programs. Issues states are struggling with include: providing funding for full-day rather than half-day kindergarten programs; determining whether kindergarten should be mandatory for all children; how to find and retain quality kindergarten teachers; and appropriate entrance and exit assessments for kindergartners. The resources listed below identify some of the key resources for policymakers interested in learning more about these issues.
Research and Studies
Education Commission of the States (ECS)
How States Fund Full-Day Kindergarten (June 2003)
"State funding levels, established in state policy, create incentives or disincentives for district provision of full-day kindergarten. This ECS StateNote shows how each state's funding formula addresses kindergarten. It does not show the relative dollar amount that each state invests in kindergarten nor does it analyze whether states are adequately funding kindergarten. Specifically, this StateNote addresses two key questions: How do states' funding formulas for half-day kindergarten and full-day kindergarten compare?
How do states' funding formulas for full-day kindergarten and 1st grade compare?"
Access to Kindergarten: Age Issues in State Statutes (May, 2003)
"This StateNote documents how state lawmakers have addressed kindergarten-related age issues, including compulsory school age, kindergarten entrance age, early entrance to kindergarten, skipping kindergarten and kindergarten exemption."
National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K)
"The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K) is an ongoing effort by the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The study follows a nationally representative sample of approximately 22,000 children from kindergarten through fifth grade. The children come from both public and private schools and attended both full-day and part-day kindergarten programs. The children come from diverse socioeconomic and racial/ethnic backgrounds. Also participating, are the children's parents, teachers and schools."
The Condition of Education 2000, Indicator 42: Interest Areas and Centers in Kindergarten Classrooms
"From the larger study, The Condition of Education 2000, this brief report examines and charts data pertaining to content areas offered to kindergartners in full-day and part day programs in public and private school environments."
The Condition of Education 2000
Resources on School Readiness
Articles and Analysis on Full-Day Kindergarten
The National All-Day Kindergarten Network
"The National All-Day Kindergarten Network is an association of early childhood educators throughout the country who are involved in the all-day kindergarten movement. The purpose of the network is to provide guidance in decisions of policy and practice, to serve as a liaison with early childhood projects and professional organizations, and to be a resource for the identification of speakers and materials related to kindergarten."
Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC)
Frequently Asked Questions about Full Day Kindergarten
"Addresses full-day kindergarten program prevalence, scheduling, characteristics, and effects on children."
Full Day Kindergarten Programs (1995)
"Recent research supports the effectiveness of full-day kindergarten programs that are developmentally appropriate, indicating that they have academic and behavioral benefits for young children. In full-day programs, less hectic instruction geared to student needs and appropriate assessment of student progress contribute to the effectiveness of the program. While these can also be characteristics of high-quality half-day programs, many children seem to benefit, academically and behaviorally, from all-day kindergarten. Of course, the length of the school day is only one dimension of the kindergarten experience. Other important issues include the nature of the kindergarten curriculum and the quality of teaching."
Recent Research on All-Day Kindergarten (2001)
"In the fall of 1998, of the 4 million children attending kindergarten in the United States, 55 percent were in all-day programs and 45 percent were in part-day programs. The growing number of all-day programs is the result of a number of factors, including the greater numbers of single-parent and dual-income families in the workforce who need all-day programming for their young children, as well as the belief by some that all-day programs better prepare children for school."
United States Census Bureau:
"The ratio of children enrolled in all-day kindergarten in Oct., 2000 is 6-in-10, up from 1-in-10 in 1970."
Study: Full-Day Kindergarten Boosts Academic Performance (2002)
"A study of 17,600 Philadelphia schoolchildren suggests that full-day kindergarten programs may have both academic and financial payoffs....."
Seattle Parents Paying for All-Day Kindergarten (2002)
" The chorus of parent voices is growing increasingly clear in Seattle, and it sounds like this: We want full-day kindergarten. And we want it badly enough that we are willing to pay $2,000 a year to get it...."
Kindergarten Quick Facts and Legislation
Quick Facts on Kindergarten
State Statutes Regarding Kindergarten (Updated 2001)
Extensive chart depicts what the states are doing with Kindergarten in statutes.
Recent State Kindergarten Legislation