Regular attendance is vital to the success of a child’s education. The Private Industry Council of Westmoreland/Fayette, Inc. (PIC) puts an emphasis on regular attendance as part of the Head Start/Early Head Start of Beaver & Fayette County programs. Each center engages the children in this process with laminated attendance placards that display attendance. PIC ensures all staff, children, and families are involved in classroom attendance promotion in order to create accountability.
Why is attendance so important? Why Attendance Matters for Achievement and How Interventions Can Help, by Attendance Works details “Chronic absence — missing 10 percent or more of school days due to absence for any reason—excused, unexcused absences and suspensions, can translate into third-graders unable to master reading, sixth-graders failing subjects and ninth-graders dropping out of high school.”
Perhaps as crucial to regular attendance is punctual attendance. Research has shown that children attending preschool are less likely to be chronically absent in kindergarten. Tardiness often goes hand-in-hand with attendance. “Tackling Tardiness to Promote Good Attendance” from www.attendanceworks.org discusses the institution of a new campaign by Learning and Leadership in Families to deal with the issue in Baltimore’s Head Start program.
The Perfectly Punctual Campaign includes daily, weekly, and periodic strategies to increase punctuality in preschool. Examples include daily tracking of attendance with weekly recognition for students and punctuality reports for families. Periodically, families are recognized for punctuality and attendance in centers with family literacy activities. Reminders of tardiness policies and rationale are provided to parents and guardians and workshops and professional development are offered to teachers and preschool staff.
George Bernard Shaw quipped, “Better never than late,” to underscore the value of punctuality. With tardiness, attendance, and school success so closely linked, educators should stress the importance of time from the very beginning of our children’s education. The Head Start/Early Head Start of Beaver and Fayette Counties continues to promote this idea of “better never than late” with all program participants and families in hopes to continue this trend throughout the child’s education.