Kindergarten for 3-year-olds has been a smash hit at Bruce Guadalupe Community School on Milwaukee’s near south side, where, bucking what is supposed to be their fate, low-income students perform at a high academic level.
Jill Matusin, who teaches 5-year-olds at the charter school, swears by 3K.
“The difference – it was amazing,” she says of two sisters in her classroom in successive years – one who started in 5K and the other in 3K. The sister with the head start was far more advanced in numbers, colors, language and social skills.
The results so impressed Bruce Guadalupe that it is set to open four more 3K classrooms this fall – setting a splendid example for the state, which must boost preschool education, particularly for needy children. This strategy would narrow, if not close, the gaps in academic achievement between the poor and the middle class, whites and blacks, Anglos and Latinos.
Decades of study have led educators to this consensus: When aimed at kids from lower-income families, quality early childhood education boosts academic attainment, high school graduation rates, college attendance and future wages, and it reduces truancy, crime and teenage pregnancies.