Pakistani and Nigerian Families Face Unique Preschool Access Barriers

Aug 24, 2009

A new report from the Urban Institute, Fulfilling the Promise of Preschool for All: Insights into Issues Affecting Access for Selected Immigrant Groups in Chicago, offers a unique look at the preschool experiences of Nigerian and Pakistani families living in Chicago, Illinois. The diversity of the immigrant population can be easily overlooked as researchers and others often focus on majority populations, for example immigrants from Mexico or Latin America. This new report reminds us that the early education experiences of immigrant families are diverse, as they are for all families, and policies to improve access must consider a range of remedies.

The report uncovers access barriers for the Preschool for All (PFA) program in Illinois, a universal preschool program for 3- and 4-year olds. Many immigrant families face unique barriers to accessing services, even those that are intended to be available for all children in a community. Many of the barriers identified in this study, corroborate challenges raised by other research, including CLASP's research, such as transportation barriers, onerous enrollment requirements, and the cultural responsiveness of programs. Moreover, because PFA can be delivered in community-based child care centers, barriers to accessing preschool for working families can be further complicated by barriers to accessing quality child care.

Policymakers in all states can be informed by the findings of this report as they work to make all child care and early education programs more accessible and responsive to diverse families. The executive summary and full report are available on the Urban Institute website.  

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