Children who attend certain federally subsidized Pre-K programs achieve better academic results according to a key research group. The Family and Children Research Unit of the Social Science Research Center at Mississippi State University conducted a study that's showing children who went to Pre-K will more than likely be more academically successful than ones who did not.
"They were one and half more times likely to be reading proficiently by third grade," says Southward.
Linda Southward is with MSU's Family and Children Research Unit.
"Then when we looked at children who were reading proficiently in third grade, another educational milestone is how well they do by eighth grade," Southward says.
Looking at separate groups of children, Southward learned, students who were proficient in 3rd grade were 9 times more likely to be proficient in 8th grade. Those who were proficient in 8th grade were three and half more times likely to graduate on time.
Janna Williams is a pre-k teacher who says reading is the foundation for a child to learn. She says she knows how important Pre-K is for a child's future.
"Having books, and writing materials, they get excited. They realize 'That kind of makes sense, I think I recognize that word!' It's exciting for them. And if they are excited about it, I think it carries through, once they get into kinder, first grade, and second grade," says Williams.
Southward says the value of early childhood education can also benefit the state's economy.
"If we invest early with children with quality programs, with high standards for education, then they can graduate on time. Then, they can be more productive citizens," Southward says.
Three separate groups of children that went to a Pre-K program under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act were observed. About 4,100 children in Mississippi are currently being served using Title 1.