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Early childhood education leaders highlight benefits of Pre-K

The 4-year-old students at Fair Park Early Childhood Center will blow you away.

LITTLE ROCK, AR -- The 4-year-old students at Fair Park Early Childhood Center will blow you away.

"There's a wreck on 430. He ran into a sign. Somebody got hurt but they're still alive," said 4-year-old Cline, who is using the FOX16 microphone to give a traffic report.

Early childhood leaders say they're all bright because of the wealth of knowledge they're getting at this tender age. Kindergarten teacher Alicia Atwood says it will serve them well for years to come.

"I hear the stories now of these kids that are graduating high school and are going to college that I taught and I know for a fact that those programs made a difference in those little ones' lives," Atwood said.

Early childhood leaders say students who go to Pre-K have a higher graduation rate than those who don't start school at four years old. But with no additional funding available for the programs, leaders can't expand, which makes it hard to reach low-income children, who would really benefit.

"At-risk children, having limited resources in their homes like books available to them, they can start 18 months behind their peers so it's hard to catch up even with a great kindergarten teacher," said Geania Dickey, a member of the Invest Early Coalition.

Dickey hopes the numbers will bring more funding so all Arkansas students can get that early boost.

Pre K gives students a great advantage in their education but education advocates say learning really starts when they're infants. For parents with babies, click here.

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