Prekindergarten Education


Investments in early childhood development are vital to future success

Unfavorable movement since the last available data

Benchmark: 100% of Maine school districts will offer public pre-K for 4-year-olds by 2025.

Overview Fig. A


High-quality, affordable child care is critical to Maine’s economic development. It prepares young Mainers for success in school and supports their parents’ full participation in the workforce, a fact highlighted by the COVID pandemic.

This metric focuses on one component of early childhood education: prekindergarten. In Maine, the percentage of school districts with public pre-Ks has increased dramatically, from 24% in the late 2000s to 77% last year. The drop from 79% in 2020-2021 reflects the impact of COVID and anomalous enrollment declines at some very small districts. It is expected to reverse next year. The Council supports the Maine Children’s Cabinet’s goal of all districts offering these programs by 2025.

According to the National Institute for Early Education Research, the percentage of Maine four-year-olds enrolled in public pre-K dropped from 44% in 2019-2020 to 33% in 2020-2021. This followed national trends, as many parents kept their young children at home by choice or necessity during the pandemic. Still, Maine’s share of publicly educated four-year-olds exceeds the U.S. and New England averages of 26% and 29%, respectively.



Fig. A

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Maine Public School Districts Offering Pre-K Programs

Maine Department of Education student enrollment data