Data Update: Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten Enrollment Participation is Climbing, and Likely to Expand Even Further

As part of our DC KIDS COUNT project, we make periodic updates to our online data center when new data are available. We wanted to highlight some notable trends, discuss what’s important to know and of course, share new data with you.

More than 11,000 children currently attend public preschool and pre-kindergarten programs in DC, and each year the enrollment numbers are growing, according to data from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE). The latest Census population estimates place the total population of three- and four-year olds at 13,200 – indicating that a large share of young children are enrolled.

Since school year 2006-2007, enrollment in preschool and pre-K has almost doubled, due in large part to DC’s pre-K expansion legislation passed in 2008. As the figure below illustrates, DCPS has experienced steady increases each year, and currently 4,322 children ages 3 and 4 are enrolled in DCPS preschool and pre-K programs. In the past two years, public charter schools’ preschool and pre-K enrollment has expanded even more rapidly, and now 5,858 children are enrolled.

We expect to see this upward trend continue, due to an increasing number of young children in DC and attention from city leaders. While DC is a leader in pre-kindergarten enrollment, the Obama administration’s recent proposal to expand early education opportunities across the nation may contribute to further enrollment bumps in preschool and pre-kindergarten here in the District.

Enrollment in preschool and pre-K will be an interesting trend to follow because of the local and national emphasis and DC’s place as a leader of the pack. If you have a question, please ask us, and let us know what you think about early education enrollment.

To see the complete set of data, and many other indicators of child well-being, visit the DC KIDS COUNT Data Center.

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