Early intervention is the most cost-effective approach to closing the achievement gap. ASCD supports high-quality prekindergarten education programs for all children, with the highest priority given to programs that serve students who are most at risk. While one focus of such programs is kindergarten readiness, ASCD advocates attention to and development of the whole child.
The current educational climate often emphasizes academic achievement and excludes a more holistic approach to educating the whole child. Early childhood programs must recognize the relationship between health and learning. ASCD encourages the creation of programs that provide developmentally appropriate learning opportunities and that emphasize emotional and physical well-being, motivation and engagement, and experience in the arts.
School readiness requires high-quality teachers and the involvement of family, community, and policymakers. ASCD opposes programs that do not include support for appropriate professional development of high-quality teachers.
ASCD calls upon the U.S. Congress to support high-quality prekindergarten education programs for all children and to increase funding for school readiness programs, including Head Start. In the law’s reauthorization, ASCD calls for flexibility in alignment of federal programs with state and local school readiness programs. Further, funding priorities must be provided to Head Start programs that are aligned with school district curricula and accountable.
ASCD opposes the use of a single measure assessment to determine the effectiveness of local school readiness programs, including Head Start.