Pre-school Enrollment Soars

Reported by: Associated Press

A report shows the enrollment of Louisiana 4-year-olds in preschool classes has skyrocketed in the past five years and now totals 96 percent of children from poor families.

Six years ago enrollment totaled 62 percent of all such children.

The study was presented to a committee of the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Most of the gains stem from the growth of the state's newest program for 4-year-olds, which is called LA4.

The classes are designed to prepare students academically and socially for kindergarten.

Experts say that students who enter kindergarten behind their peers, which often applies to children from poor families, never catch up.

Students who attend LA4 classes and federally funded Head Start, which has been in operation for decades, account for about 60 percent of all the children enrolled in preschool classes.

The state has 40,625 4-year-olds from poor families and 38,798 are enrolled in preschool classes, or 96 percent.