Preserving Early Childhood (PEC) 2019
Developmentally Appropriate Learning: Play is the Way!
Research Related to 4K
Wisconsin does not have data to correlate student performance on statewide tests with past 4K participation. Wisconsin, however, was one of the states that participated in the National Center for Early Development & Learning Multi-State Study of Pre-Kindergarten & Study of State-Wide Early Education Programs (SWEEP). The full report provides a descriptive picture of pre-k children and classrooms across eleven states. Although the authors caution the study was not an experiment in which children were randomly assigned to either attend pre-k or not, making it impossible to know how much of the gains in children’s academic and social skills were caused by their pre-k experiences, they believe the study helps better understand the issues, problems, and opportunities within pre-k education. Information specific to Wisconsin and the children that participated in a 4K program was summarized and shared with the state. See a summary here.
The State of 4K in Wisconsin
More of Wisconsin’s children are enrolled in 4-year-old kindergarten than ever before. Learn more about the demographic trends of 4K by reviewing the 2017 State Superintendent’s Advisory Committee on Four-Year-Old Kindergarten Presentation. The presentation includes summary data on 4k enrollment, attendance, suspensions, and retention across race, economic status, disability indicators, and district poverty levels. See how far Wisconsin’s 4K programs have come in the last five years, as well as the areas in which we should continue to focus our efforts to promote high quality early childhood education opportunities for all of Wisconsin’s children. I
In October of 2018, updates about the progress of the State Superintendent's Advisory Council's 2016 Recommendations were presented to shared with council members. 4K Advisory Council Presentation Information about the current direction of the council can be found in the October 2018 Council Notes. The council's next full meeting will be in May of 2019.
Impact of Community Approaches
Benefits and Impact of 4K Community Approach Website: The Office of Early Learning is pleased to announce our new website that helps tell the story of what makes 4-year-old kindergarten community approaches (4KCA) so good for children, families, child care, school districts, Head Start, community programs, and the general public. We invite you to read and view the great stories from communities throughout Wisconsin as they share their perceptions of 54 benefits communities commonly realized after implementing 4KCA. In addition to the stories of the benefits, you can find Wisconsin Storyteller Bob Kann’s Storytelling Techniques and other strategies to help frame your own community’s story.
As enrollment in Wisconsin’s 4-year-old kindergarten (4K) grows, interest in measuring 4K’s impact on child development has also increased. A variety of studies the positive impact of these programs on children, society, and the economy: Research on 4YK
Four-Year-Old Kindergarten Start Up Grants
The 2008 state budget began start up grants for school districts wanting to implement 4-year-old kindergarten. The statutes required priority to school districts using community approaches to 4K through partnerships with child care and Head Start. Go to our Four-Year-Old Kindergarten Grants page for more details.
The Unique History of 4-Year-Old Kindergarten in Wisconsin
This policy brief examines the remarkable history of 4-year-old Kindergarten (4K) in Wisconsin. The paper explores key developments, starting with the inclusion of education for 4-year-olds in the 1848 Constitution and the establishment of first private kindergarten in the country in Watertown in 1856, and follows the surge in public education for 4-year-olds in the late 1800s, the decline from 1920-1970, and the resurgence from 1980-2010. The policy brief examines the causes of the rapid growth in the last 15 years and the emergence of the community approach to 4K, and lays out several implications for the future.
Additional information about Wisconsin's 4K and 5K history is captured in An Abbreviated History of 4- and 5-Year-Old Kindergarten in Wisconsin: 1840-2017
Visit the 4-Year-Old Kindergarten Companion Website
You can learn more about Community Approaches to 4K and the Forces for Four-Year-Olds initiative by visiting our Websites. You will find more information including: testimonials, financial guidance, and program evaluation.
Other Information About Four-Year-Old Kindergarten
- Join the Forces for Four-Year-Olds listserve to share information and resources about 4K and communities approaches. Looking for ways to evaluate your 4K program, this webpage has a variety of tools for your consideration.
- You can see and hear a presentation on the "Benefits and costs for Quality Early Childhood Education" by W. Steven Barnett, Ph.D., National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER).
- DPI Policy and Information Advisory 2.17 ♦ August 2017 This policy updates and replaces the 2008 bulletin on 4-year-old kindergarten. These Questions and Answers provide information generally to 4-year-old kindergarten and especially to 4-year-old kindergarten implemented in community approaches with child care and Head Start.
- Four-Year-Old Kindergarten is universal and open to all children. When a district offers 4K, it must be open for all age eligible children in the district. Districts may not phase-in enrollment nor have waiting lists for the program. This Policy is supported by state statute Section 102. 118.14.
- Rationale and Best Practices for 4-year-old Kindergarten
- View a Slide presentation on rules and practices related to 4K
- ListList of district reporting 4K in 2016-17. For more complete information and figures for past years, visit the Public School Program Data page that shows how districts report their 4K design (full day, half day, 2-3 days per week, etc.)
- A list of districts reporting that they are utilizing community approaches to 4-year-old kindergarten.
- Trends in 4-Year-Old Kindergarten: The number of Wisconsin school districts offering 4-year-old kindergarten, 1996-2017.
- Parent Outreach Activities
- 1991 ACT 48 4K State legislation
- Guiding Principles Curriculum Considerations
Lessons Learned from Community Approaches
More and more school districts are taking community approaches to 4-year-old kindergarten by offering the program in an array of settings including schools, childcare, and HeadStart. The following links will help you learn more about these approaches.
- Developing Young Learners: 4K programs are preparing students for kindergarten and beyond: This article from Wisconsin School News highlights the tremendous benefits of several 4K community approach programs around the state.
- Community Approaches to Serving Four-Year-Old Children in Wisconsin: Lessons Learned from Wisconsin Communities
- Creating a Community Approach to Serving Four-Year-Old Children in Wisconsin: Public Awareness Packet
- Has a Cooperative Attitude: Wisconsin Communities Embrace the Community Approach To Serving Four-Year-Olds: This article from the Wisconsin Association of School Boards Association News is an update on the 4-year-old kindergarten program in La Crosse and how it spread to other Wisconsin communities.
Reprinted with permission of Wisconsin School News, the official publication of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, Inc.
- Sandbox Synergy: This article from the Wisconsin Association of School Boards Association News describes efforts in La Crosse to develop a community wide approach to 4-year-old kindergarten and how child care and the district became partners in 4k.