Parents Want Better Access to Quality Pre-K. Delaware Doesn’t Have It.
The 10 Most Telling Parent Quotes about Pre-K in Delaware.
High-quality preschool is linked to fuller, richer lives for children and their families. Evidence abounds that it’s one of the best investments any state can make. But Delaware lacks in access to quality programs for its youngest learners. According to national experts, Delaware ranks 35th in nation in pre-K access, and a dismal 43rd when you factor in programming like Head Start and special education. Many other states offer free, public pre-K with more uniform, higher standards. Learn more here.
As grassroots advocates and community organizers working with families and children on kindergarten readiness in every county, the Delaware Readiness Teams take this issue seriously. We administered a survey to more than 500 local parents asking their opinions and experiences with pre-K.
94% of Delaware parents told us the state should make free, public pre-K available for all three- and four-year-olds available to its citizens, while 92 percent of parents said they would take advantage of voluntary, full day, high-quality pre-K if it was offered. [See full results HERE.]
Studies and anecdotes say voluntary, full-day, high-quality universal pre-K would support families financially and prepare their children for a life time of success.
We also received hundreds of comments from parents. Here are just 10 of the most illuminating—and data that demonstrate the statewide picture.
1. “Enrolling my child in a pre-K program would help them develop learning and social skills.”
About half (55%) of Delaware children enter kindergarten with the social and emotional skills they need for success, according to the Delaware Early Learner Survey.
2. “A pre-K program offered by state accredited teachers would help my child gain those skills needed for success in kindergarten.”
Only four out of 10 early learning professionals in Delaware have bachelors’ degree or higher, according to a University of Delaware report. Research indicates an early childhood teacher with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood development or specialized training is better able to support children’s healthy development and school readiness.
3. “Instead of sending my children to daycare for 8 hours a day, they would be in an environment that fosters social and academic learning from certified teacher.”
Universal pre-K doesn't solve for all family childcare needs such as before- and after-care, or summertime care. But it could reduce financial burdens for many families.
4. “My husband has to work overtime in the amount of almost 20 hours of extra work in order to help with the cost of childcare. We cannot live off of 1 income, and childcare is the equivalent to 1 of my 2 paychecks. We cannot afford to move into a house to accommodate our larger family because we are paying about 1,200 for childcare.”
5. “The cost of full-day childcare has prevented my partner and me from having another child because paying for one is on the brink of causing financial hardship.”
6. “My wife had to quit her job and take our oldest daughter to a pre k in another state that cost us 8k a year just to try and have her ready for kindergarten.”
7. “We are privileged to be able to pay for high-quality childcare because of financial assistance from our child's grandparents. However, many of our friends and neighbors don't have this assistance and thus don't have access to high-quality preschool education for their children. This should be available to ALL Delawareans regardless of their circumstances.”
Half of all Delaware three- and four-year-olds aren’t in pre-school.
8. “I have currently in the process of moving my daughter and grandchildren here from NY where my five-year-old granddaughter had access to Universal Pre K. My concern is that the three-year-old will have missed opportunities to develop very important skills that her sibling has already had.”
9. “Child care is so expensive. My husband and I are unable to further our education until our children are out of daycare. A high quality pre k program is extremely necessary for all children. Kindergarten is so rigorous today, children do not come prepared. I teach kindergarten and children who come from a pre k program are much more ready and thriving in kindergarten.”
73 percent of Delaware millennial median income (approximately $26,000) is spent on infant and four-year old in center-based childcare. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, child care is affordable if it costs no more than 10 percent of a family’s income.
10. “Students who have not had access to pre-K and are not read to/helped at home struggle and still struggle as they get to me in 6th grade” –Quote from Delaware teacher
High quality pre-K has lifetime benefits for kids, including less remedial education and more positive academic outcomes.
The Delaware Readiness Teams support First State Pre-K, a campaign dedicated to providing the best for Delaware families and their children. Learn more at www.firststateprek.com.