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Pre-K for all? Understanding the perceptions of expanded pre-K policy in Pennsylvania

Neuf, Megan (2015) Pre-K for all? Understanding the perceptions of expanded pre-K policy in Pennsylvania. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Expanding access to pre-kindergarten programs (pre-k) for all children is a national topic of interest as states like Oklahoma, Georgia, and New York adopt policies that make pre-k programs accessible to families, regardless of income and background. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) defines pre-k programs as, “A distinct group of programs designed specifically to make sure that preschoolers are ready for kindergarten and will be succeeding in school by third grade,” and are “(1) governed by high program standards, (2) serve 4- year-olds or sometimes both 3- and 4- year–olds, and (3) focus on school readiness. “ The pre-k time period is critical for three and four-year olds, particularly those most at-risk, for addressing challenges in social-emotional and language development. The Obama Administration recently increased federal funding to help states and communities make pre-k more accessible. In Pennsylvania (PA), a state that currently does not have universal access to pre-k, a group of organizations has formed a coalition called ‘Pre-k for PA’ with a vision that every three and four-year-old in the Commonwealth will have access to high-quality pre-k. This research explored the perceptions of pre-k professionals working in the field, i.e. advocates, center directors, and teachers regarding the implications of an expanded pre-k policy for PA. Findings suggest that while all stakeholders perceive pre-k expansion as beneficial for PA children and families, there is a difference of opinion among stakeholders regarding what a policy should include and how to address the potential challenges and needs of various stakeholder groups. The findings indicate a need for a holistic approach to early childhood education and development. Such an approach will increase the likelihood of children’s school readiness and better academic performance. Improved educational outcomes are a fundamental determinant of health. This is the public health significance of this work.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Neuf, Megan mln28@pitt.eduMLN28
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTrauth, Jeanettetrauth@pitt.eduTRAUTH
Committee MemberFriedman, Mark Smsf11@pitt.eduMSF11
Committee MemberShook, Jeffrey Jjes98@pitt.eduJES98
Date: 15 June 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 7 April 2015
Approval Date: 15 June 2015
Submission Date: 6 April 2015
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 80
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: pre-k, policy, Pennsylvania, early childhood education, perceptions
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2015 19:13
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:27


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