Achievement gaps and disparities in school readiness pose ongoing challenges for programs serving young children from low-income, economically distressed environments. The effects of poverty, along with the host of risk factors that tend to occur with poverty, can prevent children from receiving opportunities that would prepare them for school. As a result, at-risk children often have smaller vocabularies, are less likely to know their letters and numbers, and consistently score below their higher-income peers in early reading and math. These early disadvantages create problems that often persist well beyond the grade school years into high school. They may also manifest later in life in the form of social and economic problems such as illiteracy, teen pregnancy, high dropout rates, and unemployment.
Educare, a comprehensive and innovative program for at-risk children from birth to 5, aims to prevent achievement gaps from taking root by promoting school readiness. Educare schools are full-day, year-round Early Head Start/Head Start programs that use collaborative public-private partnerships to promote and implement best practices for children and families. The Educare model is designed to provide quality learning environments that help children arrive at kindergarten healthy and ready to learn, while also helping parents become active partners in their children’s learning. On a broader scale, Educare seeks to support effective state policies by serving as a showcase that provides public and private sector leaders with a firsthand view of high-quality, research-based early childhood education, demonstrating the tremendous return that can come from investments in appropriate programs.
Source: The Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute