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The Power of Preschool — A Special Publication by The Good Beginnings Alliance

(page 4 of 8)

Assessing Your Pre-K Child

Does your 4-year-old play and work well with other children? Does he or she aimlessly wander, or must they often be told to sit quietly for long periods of time? Children entering kindergarten are rated on their social skills as well as how far along they are with their ABCs or numbers. Preschools help set goals that better enable your child to meet criteria most used by kindergarten-level assessments. You can use this 24-point checklist to do your own evaluation:

Photo: Diana Kim

  • Comes to school well-rested, fed and alert.
  • Works and plays well with others.
  • Shows large muscle control (can walk without stumbling, jumps, hops, etc.).
  • Shows small muscle control (use of pencils and other school tools).
  • Practices personal hygiene such as washing hands after toilet and before eating.
  • Is independent in caring for self and own belongings.
  • Needs minimal support to adjust to new people and new places.
  • Shows satisfaction in accomplishments.
  • Expresses emotions through appropriate actions and words.
  • Is respectful of others.
  • Is able to listen for about 15 minutes to group discussions & stories read aloud.
  • Is able to follow classroom routines.Shows eagerness to learn by observing, asking questions and/or exploring new things.
  •  Tries hard and persists.
  • Appears interested in the world around him or her (curious).
  • Communicates ideas and describes things using phrases and sentences.
  • Is familiar with how books work (holds book right side up, turns pages front to back).
  • Shows interest in books and print (chooses to look at books; asks to be read to).
  • Knows names & sounds (more than three) of some letters.
  • Uses symbols, scribbles or letter-like forms to “write” words or ideas.
  • Can count a set of five objects.
  • Is able to sort and classify objects.
  • Knows names of some (more than three) numerals (“2” is called “two”).
  • Recognizes and can duplicate simple patterns.

Source: Hawaii State School Readiness Assessment



Kids in Classrooms, 2010-11

58%: Kindergartners who attended preschool
5%: Kindergartners as special ed students
2,681: Number of Head Start-funded enrollment for school year 2011-12

Cost of Preschool

$720 Statewide average per month for 4- to 5-year-olds

Counting Hawaii’s Keiki

2008  19,417 births
2009  18,843 births
2010  18,910 births

Note: Characteristics such as quality, staff-child ratio, etc., vary between programs



Where the Money Goes

Photo: iStockphoto.com

Good Beginnings Alliance is advocating for up to $130 million from the state and/or supplemental sources to support and allow equal access to preschool programs for Hawaii’s 4-year-olds, estimated to number about 19,000 annually. This sliding scale rates how much funding would be required each year for state-supported preschool, based on 12-month programs:

  • Cost of one year of preschool: $8,640 (12 months x $720)
  • Monthly preschool cost statewide for all keiki: $13,680,000

Note: Figures are averages and do not take into account how many families move to or leave the state each year.

No. of 4-year-olds 1,200 (6.3%) 5,000 (26.3%) 7,500 (39.4%) 10,000 (52.6%) 15,000 (78.9%)
Funds Needed Annually $10,368,000 $42,200,000 $64,800,000 $86,400,000 $129,600,000

Sources: State Department of Health; PATCH; Hawaii State School Readiness Assessment for School Year 2011-12

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