Report Shows State-Funded Preschool Helps Economy - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Report Shows State-Funded Preschool Helps Economy

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MISSOULA -

A new report shows if all children went to preschool, children would not only get a head start on their education, but it would save the state money.

The study, released on Wednesday by the Montana Budget and Policy Center, a non-profit research institute, shows Montana is one of only ten states with no state-funded preschool system. 

With all of the activities offered at Discovery Preschool in Missoula, preschoolers have something to look forward every day.

"Play and go outside," said one preschooler.

"Paint," said another.

But Discovery teacher, Jessa Aipperspach, said it may be helping them more then they realize.

"Some of my four year-olds are already reading, they can read actual words and that's pretty good," Aippersach said.

The report shows that children who go to preschool are less likely to repeat grades and be arrested, and more likely to graduate from high school and go to college.

"When you have someone working with children on learning, they learn early literacy skills, early reading, early math, so it really gives them a head start," Aippersach said.

The study shows without state-funding in Montana, not all parents can afford to send their children to preschool. Currently, one in five Montana children live in poverty and three-fifths of Montana preschool aged children do not attend pre-k.

"A lot of people can't afford day care, I mean, they have to choose between work or paying a daycare bill," Aippersach said.

The report shows pre-k programs provide jobs, employing nearly 3 million nationwide, and also provide reliable childcare for parents, ensuring businesses don't loose employees who might otherwise have to stay home with the kids.

"I just wanted to offer a higher quality of care, something where they're learning not just being watched every day," Aippersach said.

The report shows with universal pre-k parents are less likely to have to spend money on children repeating grades, less money will be spent on the criminal justice system, and fewer people will need unemployment assistance and welfare benefits.

"Their formative years are from birth to age eight, so getting them started early is really good," Aippersach said.

The report also outlines the ways successful preschools around the nation help children and the economy. You can see more findings by visiting the Montana Budget and Policy Center's website.

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