The world’s best free or low-cost preschool curriculum is set to hit shelves in the US on Thursday.
The free curriculum, which will be available to anyone, is designed to teach children “to feel and think independently and to be engaged with their environment”.
The new version of the curriculum, designed by The Partnership for Early Learning (PLE) is being developed by US education company, Prentice Hall, and is based on research into how preschoolers learn, as well as the latest research on the impact of free or subsidised preschool on children’s learning.
The curriculum will be free to all children, but parents must pay for their child’s education, which is set at $100 a month, to cover the cost of the school.
The PLE says its free kindergarten program is based “on the work of educators around the world”.
The curriculum is being rolled out by Prentice in partnership with the US Department of Education, the US government and local community organizations, according to the Partnership for Education.
Read more: The Partnership is a non-profit organisation that aims to provide free early childhood education and supports parents in achieving a quality childhood.
Prentice Hall has been working with the Department of the Education on the curriculum since 2012, and the partnership aims to deliver a curriculum that will be universal across all US public schools by 2025.
According to the PLE, a wide range of studies have demonstrated the benefits of free and low-priced preschool for children, including: The cost of a free preschool program is a small fraction of the cost for other programs and services; Children who are engaged in early childhood activities are more likely to attend school and be good at school; The quality of preschool education is directly linked to children’s outcomes in adulthood; Free preschool programs are more cost-effective than paid preschool programs for students, parents and teachers; Less early childhood poverty, higher attendance, and lower dropout rates are all associated with free preschool programs; Lower child-rearing costs and fewer barriers to access and participation are also associated with a high school free preschool; Analyses show that the cost savings to the taxpayer is around $3.3 billion per year in direct costs and $5.3 million per year per child in indirect costs, with the benefits in higher education and career pathways for children.
A full curriculum is expected to be available for free to families by 2020.
Free preschool is a concept developed in the early 20th century by the US-based Partnership for Children and Families, which aims to develop “sustainable and inclusive communities of learners and parents”.
The initiative launched in the UK in 2016 and in New York in 2018, but is currently operating in 26 states and territories across the US, with plans to expand internationally.
“Our work shows that free preschool, as an effective and sustainable approach to early childhood development, is a good way to reduce poverty, improve children’s health, and build community,” said Sarah Condon, the executive director of the Partnership.
The Partnership for the Early Learning in America, which promotes early childhood programs, said its curriculum is based in the work done by PEA, and has been proven to have “robust” evidence.
“The results of this study confirm what parents already know: a well-functioning preschool curriculum that includes social skills, emotional and intellectual stimulation, and a good social environment will make a big difference in children’s early learning,” the Partnership’s president, Julie Zimons, said in a statement.
This article originally appeared on Business Insider.