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Kindergartners' skills at school entry: An analysis of the ECLS-K

Although most American children receive some pre-K child care and education, kindergarten still represents many children's first exposure to formal schooling. Kindergarten supports children's cognitive, social, and emotional skills, leading to rapid gains in knowledge during this first year of education. However, not all children enter kindergarten equally prepared to meet the challenges ahead of them. Researchers have found stark differences in kindergartners' language, literacy, and math abilities as well as their social skills and behavioral approaches to learning. These areas are interdependent, and children who start kindergarten behind in math, reading, and attention-related skills risk being unable to catch up to their peers later on. Using data from a nationally representative sample of kindergartners, we examined children's skills at school entry across several academic and behavioral areas. This brief highlights the areas where attention before kindergarten might benefit all children as well as help close the gaps between more- and less-advantaged children. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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