What is VPK?
VPK Stands for The Voluntary Prekindergarten Education Program. Preschool is not free in every state, though many have state funded programs.
Is VPK required?
Preschool is not mandatory in the United States of America. Children are not mandated to attend school until they are 5-8 years old, depending on the state.
Does attending VPK lead to better educational outcomes in the future?
Vanderbilt conducted a study to find out if VPK provides a statistical educational advantage to students over those who don’t.
Researchers from Vanderbilt have tracked the outcomes of over 3000 children whom have attended Tennessee’s VPK program over the course of several years. They also followed the trajectories of children who did not attend the VPK program.
The children who attended VPK were described by their teachers to have been better prepared for Kindergarten in both behavior and peer interaction.
However, by the second grade, the PreK group scored lower in both academic and behavioral evaluations compared to the non-PreK group of children.
By sixth grade, the trend continued. The students who did not attend VPK scored higher in math and reading than those who did. The VPK group also had more absences and behavioral challenges.
While VPK is a necessary and helpful program to many families across the United States (providing over 1.5 million students access to educational child care per year), it is important to remember that home educated children are not at a statistical disadvantage academically, socially or behaviorally to their peers.