This is something I never thought I’d say, but I am a fan of universal pre-k. My littles will all go to public pre-k, including the twins (who will be the only one who don’t go to preschool). Because they are considered at-risk, they qualify. There are a few reasons kids qualify for free public pre-k in Texas. The rest of the slots are filled with tuition-paying kids.
I am not a fan of mandatory pre-k. Five is old enough for compulsory education. But I think all parents should be able to choose to send kids to public pre-k when the kids are four-years-old if they want to.
Zeke did not attend pre-k (though he qualified for it) while Mayci did. I am sure Zeke would have been much better prepared for kindergarten and doing better educationally, as well in his social-emotional development, if he had attended pre-k instead of going to a not-so-great daycare.
Mayci’s pre-k year was a bit odd because of COVID, but normally pre-k is like the kindergarten I attended with little seatwork, no push to learn to read, and playing together in centers. I think that sort of introduction to school helps kids to fall in love with school and learning.
Having that extra year is also good for identifying issues and intervening sooner than later. This is why at-risk kids like mine qualify for free public pre-k. Zeke came to us with an already diagnosed language-based disorder (but was not enrolled in PPCD for it). It took a bit to get the speech therapy he needed started at school so we lost a little time getting his IEP set up after kindergarten started.
Having one kid who could have used pre-k and one kid who didn’t necessarily need it, but certainly benefitted from it, I’ve just really become a fan of public pre-k and really think a whole lot of kids could benefit if it was made universal. Seriously, I never thought I’d think that, but watching my kids’ education has been eye opening for me.