Promoting regular attendance supports the goal of preparing children for success in kindergarten and beyond. Regular attendance ensures children benefit from participating in quality early education: Research shows that students who miss too many days of preschool have weaker literacy and numeracy skills entering kindergarten. This is especially true for children from low-income families, who gain the most when they attend but lose out more when they are absent.

What’s more, a habit of attendance is a school readiness skill. Early education programs help children to develop important social-emotional skills, including forming a habit of attendance. Children who are chronically absent in preschool are far more likely to be chronically absent in later grades. Good attendance is also a measure of parent engagement: Attendance improves when families understand what their children are learning while they are in a program as well as feel welcome and supported. Early childhood educators can use attendance to assess how well they are doing with engaging and supporting families and their children.

If you’re trying to persuade an early education to get involved, see our Making the Case handout.

For Attendance Awareness Month, early education providers can:

1. Stress the importance of building a habit of good attendance to parents and students. Use home visits or back-to-school events to convey this message.

2. Create contracts or participation agreements with parents about your expectations, including regular attendance. Reach out to parents when absences pile up and reward those with good attendance.

3. Track program attendance carefully and note how many students missed 2 or 3 days in September. Pay attention to these children going forward and determine if there is a barrier to attendance, such as health, transportation or housing problems numbers. 

4.  Engage students in paying attention to attendance. Use Attendance Awareness Month posters and stickers to get students excited about coming to school everyday. Ask students to start tracking their own attendance.

If you have suggestions or improvements to the list, please send them to phyllis@attendanceworks.org