Remote video URL
The Effects of Public Prekindergarten for 3-Year-Olds on Early Elementary School Enrollment

Evidence from the DC Centralized Lottery


Join the Urban Institute for the first national webinar on the effects of public prekindergarten for 3-year-olds (PK3) in the country’s most accessible program, DC Public Prekindergarten. Universal prekindergarten has become popular as a policy for advancing opportunity among the youngest learners. Yet, programs have historically focused on enrolling 4-year-olds. Leveraging the centralized admissions lottery in Washington, DC, this study shows that students enrolled in PK3 are more likely to persist in the public system to kindergarten and are more likely to stay within the same school. These effects are especially large for residents of low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. Among prekindergarten program types, dual language PK3 shows particular strength in increasing persistence in the public system.

A panel of experts will consider the implications of study findings for policy, practice, and research, touching on the early-life stability and economic benefits of universal prekindergarten at scale, particularly for children who start their educational journeys furthest from opportunity.



  • Breno Braga, Principal Research Associate, Urban Institute
  • Miriam Calderón, Chief Policy Officer, ZERO TO THREE
  • Erica Greenberg, Principal Research Associate, Urban Institute
  • Pamela Morris-Perez, Professor of Applied Psychology, New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
  • Maurice Sykes, Board Member, DC Early Learning Collaborative


Funding for this event was provided by the Heising-Simons Foundation. For more on Urban’s funding policies, go to

We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to engage fully. Please email [email protected] if you require any accommodations or have any questions about this event.

Date & Time Monday, October 30, 2023

Urban Institute Speakers
  • Senior Fellow
    PK–12 Team Lead
  • Principal Research Associate