Building skills to maintain the pre-K boost – Early Learning Network
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Building skills to maintain the pre-K boost

Building skills to maintain the pre-K boost

The Early Learning Network is exploring many factors to better understand how to help children not only achieve early learning success — but maintain it.


Skill building is a critical factor in preparing young learners to have long-term success, both at school and in life.


There is strong evidence that children who attend high-quality pre-K programs gain critical cognitive, language, literacy and social-emotional skills. And their experiences in those pre-K programs may offer them a boost as they enter school.


However, the boost from pre-K may begin to fade in kindergarten and beyond if these skills are not nurtured and sustained.


ELN research teams are working to identify practices and policies that can prevent this fadeout effect and have lasting benefits on children’s learning and development.


Through their collective research, the network teams have identified some best practices to promote skill building — both in the classroom and at the policy level — that will help children maintain the pre-K boost in the early elementary grades and beyond.


Best Practices: Skill Building



In the classroom


Teach and support a range of skills in pre-K, including basic and more complex skills.

  • Basic skills (constrained): Numbers, counting, letters, sounds.
  • Complex skills (unconstrained): Oral language, vocabulary, comprehension, composition, critical thinking and problem-solving.


In Policymaking


Develop structures and policies that strengthen alignment between pre-K and the early elementary grades.

  • Prioritize and support a well-coordinated curricula, instruction, standards, assessments, professional development and communication.




Skill Building | Overview Video
Skill Building | Best Practices Video
Skill Building | Best Practices Handout
Research paper: Time Well Spent: Home Learning Activities and Gains in Children’s Academic Skills in the Prekindergarten Year