Prekindergarten Education

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In 2020-21, the share of schools with a pre-K program rose from 77% to 79%.

Favorable 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

Overview

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. While data on high-quality early child care and education are limited before age three, all indications are that Maine needs to invest more to improve access.

The proportion of Maine school districts offering public pre-K has increased threefold over the past decade. This reflects investments that have extended state funding to support the creation of these programs. In 2020-21, 79% of districts offered pre-K. The Growth Council supports the Maine Children’s Cabinet’s goal of all districts offering these programs by 2025.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 50% of Maine four-year-olds were enrolled in public pre-K in 2019-20, well above the U.S. average of 34% and the New England average of 27%. Continued improvement in this measure is likely to have a positive impact on student academic proficiency in later grades.

Fig. A

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Maine Public School Districts Offering Pre-K Programs

Maine Department of Education