The preschool gap

Preschool in California is not free for all and it’s not required.

But for those who do attend, there are both public or private options— basically, free and subsidized, or pay out-of-pocket programs. 

Among the public options, California has three funded programs mostly for low-income families: the state preschool program, Head Start and transitional kindergarten. But these programs are not able to serve all the kids who qualify.  

By contrast, private preschool costs can range from $1,000 to $3,000 a month.

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, children are less likely to be enrolled in preschool if they are living in poverty, or nearing so, and if the household lacks a college-educated adult. Children are also less likely to be enrolled if English is not spoken well in the household, and if they are children of color.