Study of Universal Preschool Models and Projection of School Age Population
What children served by local high quality, affordable preschool and which are not served by the system? But more importantly, why?
When a city plans its educational growth, it needs to look not at demand today, but at predicted demand in the future. Cambridge, MA awarded a contract to Early Childhood Associates and its partner, the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute (UMDI) to conduct a study of the existing mixed service delivery system of preschool programs serving children in Cambridge. This study seeks to provide an analysis of the feasibility and implications of various options for expanding access to high quality affordable preschool and prepare population and demographic estimates for school age children to assess the impact on space needs for the Cambridge Public Schools (CPS).
ECA and UMDI are adopting a comprehensive approach utilizing a range of qualitative and quantitative data collection strategies and analytic methods. Our work is predicated on two facts:
- That there is more to do with regards to mapping current supply and demand as we project demand into the future and
- That there is more to do with workforce development, assuring quality, access, and financing.
Successfully completing the scope of work requires research uncovering the current and projected population and associated cost and demand for services and space; getting a clearer picture of children served and not served by the system– and why; gaining more clarity on how existing programs in Cambridge are meeting quality standards; and coming up with an effective universal pre-K Model in Cambridge that not only works for CPS but embraces the assets of its current mixed service delivery system. The work also involves thinking through funding strategies to support investment, including a structure for supporting the workforce and building program infrastructure.