THE BIG PICTURE
Early childhood education provides students with a solid foundation to build on throughout their education and into adulthood. In order to ensure that all students are prepared to flourish in K-12 education and that achievement gaps are addressed head on, access, enrollment, and family involvement in quality, early childhood education are essential. Over the past 10 years, Maine has made great strides in supporting early care and learning from birth to age 5 and making publicly-funded early education available to more children, but there is more that can be done.
In this report, preschool refers to any early care and education available to 3- and 4-year-olds prior to kindergarten. Pre-K refers to publicly-funded programs for 4-year-olds available in Maine the year before kindergarten. State law requires all school districts to offer a voluntary public Pre-K option in their own buildings and/or in partnership with local child care programs.