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Is universal preschool the answer? Britain says ‘yes’

The Hechinger Report – Lillian Mongeau

“Any child in England who has turned 3 by Sept. 1 is guaranteed 15 hours a week of free child-care or preschool for 38 weeks a year, or 570 hours total, paid for by the national government. “We don’t think of it as socialism at all,” said Oxford University professor Edward Melhuish, who studies child development and was instrumental in conducting the research that largely led to England’s current policies. “We think of it as common sense.” Apparently, so do most parents, 94 percent of whom take the government up on its offer of free education starting at age 3, according to government data. At age 4, 99 percent of children have started “reception,” the English version of kindergarten. Most 4-year-olds attend reception at their local primary school, but parents can choose to send their 3-year-old to a private center, a publicly funded nursery, a state-funded primary school or a home-based day care provider.”(more)

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