Today in the United States, three-fourths of young children attend preschool programs. But for Hispanic and Latinx communities, the benefits of these pre-kindergarten programs are showing particular promise.
Previous studies have found that Hispanic and Latinx children typically show lower rates of attendance in Early Care and Education programs, or ECE, than other ethnicities. Prior researchers, according to Huffington Post, reported that this was caused by limited affordable and accessible child care. However, a new study just released by the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families says otherwise.
“The study found that approximately 83% of low-income Hispanic children in the Chicago Public Schools had participated in some form of publicly funded center-based or home-based ECE in the two years prior to kindergarten,” reported Huffington Post. “The participation rate was higher than those found in prior studies, and was close to the 86% participation rate for low-income, non-Hispanic children. Furthermore, among Hispanics, neither language nor parents’ nativity appear to be obstacles to participating in publicly funded ECE.”
The study reveals such a vast difference due to newly included data, which now provides a more holistic picture of the ECE programs used by Hispanic and Latinx families. Not only that, but more child care programs are reaching out to support Latinx families. According to Huffington Post, these ECE programs could have improved the responsiveness of their outreach as well as their service delivery and recruitment efforts for diverse families.
Writing in the Huffington Post, researchers from Abt Associates write:
“This study shows that publicly funded ECE programs can overcome some of the commonly encountered challenges and successfully recruit and serve Latino families. These latest findings add to a growing body of recent research on how the expansion of publicly funded programs and use of targeted outreach efforts may be reducing the disparities in ECE access, thus narrowing long-standing gaps in ECE participation.”
The survey released by the National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families shows that Hispanic and Latinx children can excel in ECE programs when provided with child care and early education services that have been adapted to fit the needs of the growing Hispanic and Latinx population.
By actively engaging with families in their native language, supplying multiple ECE options, and hiring bilingual and bicultural staff in ECE programs, these programs will not only assist Hispanic and Latinx families as their children grow, but will also help their children to succeed.