The Effects of Universal Preschool in Washington, D.C.
Children’s Learning and Mothers’ Earnings
In an era of skyrocketing child care prices, the District of Columbia’s offer of two years of free, high-quality preschool has been a game changer for working families.
Introduction and summary
Over the past 15 years, the share of 4-year-olds who are U.S. residents attending public preschool has more than doubled to 33 percent.1 A growing number of cities and states have dedicated resources to establish or expand preschool programs, with policymakers frequently citing the impact that preschool participation has on school readiness.2 Preschool attendance has been shown to improve children’s academic and socio-emotional skills, preparing them for kindergarten and beyond.3 Research also shows that effective preschool programs benefit children from disadvantaged families the most, providing those children with a nurturing environment for healthy development.4