Attendance in preschool and the early grades can be a challenge. Some children and families face problems with health, transportation and housing that get in the way of regular attendance. Others simply don’t realize how many days their children are missing and how these absences can add up to academic trouble. Many young children are just getting used to the routine of going to school, and they tend to get sick a lot, leading to excused absences.
But research tells us that, excused or unexcused, these early absences can lead to academic struggle or poor attendance in the grades ahead. Children who miss too many days in kindergarten and first grade are less likely to master reading by the end of third grade.
We’ve found the best approach to improving attendance in the early years is to engage families. Educators can help families overcome the barriers that keep children from coming to school. And they can convey that preschool, Head Start and kindergarten are not drop-in programs, but school readiness opportunities that works best when children show up every day.
We’ve developed some tools to help deliver that message. Please download and share with families:
- Tips for Good Preschool Attendance
- My Child’s Attendance Success Plan
- Preschool Bookmark
- Preschool Poster
- A research guide for providers and program directors