Erie Vital Signs

Early Childhood Education: Early Childhood Education Program Participation

Recent Performance

This trend is mixed or inconclusive.

In Erie County, the total participation rate in education-based pre-school programs declined a bit in 2012-2013 from levels reported the previous school year, according to the most recent data. It is important to note, however, that total participation in the county remains much higher than the average early education participation rate across Pennsylvania; Erie’s total participation rate was 57.3% while the Pennsylvania average was only 43.0%.

Participation trends vary among programs. While participation rates fell slightly for most programs, participation in Early Intervention and PA Pre-K Counts programs rose a bit in 2012-13 from the previous year.

The Basics

Early childhood education program participation measures the percentage of children under the age of 5 in an area that participate in various early education programs. For Erie County, there are nine programs (listed below) that are included. A child may be counted more than once if s/he participates in more than one of the early childhood education programs.

Why It's Important

A growing body of research underscores the importance of providing children with quality early education opportunities. Advances in brain research, for example, reveal that much of the brain’s development occurs very early in a child’s life and that stimulation and supportive relationships during those early years greatly influence that development. Several early childhood education programs, ranging from Head Start to Pennsylvania’s Pre-K Counts, have generally shown promise in helping prepare children for school and a lifetime of learning. Every year, the state Office of Child Development and Early Learning measures county-specific participation rates across a number of those programs.

The Nitty-Gritty Details

Information on PA early childhood programs


ECE programs included in this indicator:
-Child Care Works
-Early Intervention
-Head Start State and Federal
-Keystone Stars
-Nurse-Family Partnership
-Parent-Child Home Program
-PA Pre-K Counts
-Pre-K Funded PA PACT
-School-Based Pre-K

Peer Areas

These indicators include data for the state as a whole, as well as five other Pennsylvania counties (Allegheny, Bucks, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia.)




PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning, Early Learning Keys to Quality Website, Pennsylvania County Reach and Risk Assessment files

Additional Studies and Research

PA Office of Child Development and Early Learning, Early Learning in Pennsylvania
Timothy J. Bartik, Investing in Kids: Early Childhood Programs and Local Economic Development. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute (2011). Information here.
Investing in Kids blog by Timothy Bartik.

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