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Study: Universal Full-Day Preschool Falls Short

Child cutting out scissors paper.Governor Andrew Cuomo has promised to make universal preschool a top priority, and the state recently renewed a $340 million a year grant to expand the “universal” full-day preschool year. In practice, however, free full-day preschool has yet to reach many upstate New York districts, making it universal in name only.

Last week, the New York Times reported new research which indicated preschool children have far less opportunities for active play and learning than many parents realize. The research sharply contradicts a stereotypical image of hyper young children bouncing off the walls, and instead suggests long sedentary periods.

At the University of Washington, researchers monitored the activity of children at 10 different preschools and tracked the time children spent in active play and learning. The youngsters were also outfitted with special devices to measure movement.

Even when the researchers accounted for two hours of naptime, they discovered that the average preschooler was only active for 48 minutes on a school buy lorazepam day, just 12% of their time in the classroom. The researchers referred to this time as “considerably suboptimal.”

Even during designated activity time, children were still sedentary. According to the Times, experts recommend pre-K children spend 120 minutes physically active every day.

“If kids are encouraged to move from a young age, they enjoy it more, and they become more confident in fundamental movement skills like jumping, throwing, kicking, balancing,” said Dr. Pooja Tandon, the study’s lead investigator. “Those skills are precursors to being involved in sports or athletics later.”

Nationwide, more than two-thirds of four-year-olds and nearly half of three-year-olds receive a pre-k education, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research. New York State launched the new preschool grant in 2014, and 62 upstate New York districts received grants.

Now that the grant has been renewed, upstate districts can apply for funds to expand their preschool classes at the end of the summer.