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Attendance & Chronic Absence in Early Childhood

April 11, 2024
Updated April 11, 2024

Our second Data Bite explores patterns of attendance and absenteeism for children enrolled in Educare schools before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Researchers examined and compared 1) average attendance rates, 2) percentage of children who were chronically absent, 3) attendance rates in relation to levels of chronic absence, and 4) differences in chronic absence by race/ethnicity.

Initial findings are:

  • Children enrolled in Educare schools during the pandemic had lower rates of attendance than children enrolled prior to the pandemic.
  • During the pandemic, average attendance rates slightly decreased, but these same Educare schools experienced large increases in the proportion of children who were chronically absent.
  • Rates of chronic absence differed by race/ethnicity prior to the pandemic but were consistently high across all racial-ethnic groups during the pandemic.

Overall, data from the Educare Network highlight the importance of reducing and even preventing chronic absence in the earliest years and building strong routines and habits of attendance through the support of ECE programs and providers.

Questions for Practitioners to “Bite” Into:

  • LEVERAGING DATA: What does chronic absenteeism look like in my program? How have our patterns of attendance changed across school years?
  • FOCUSING ON STRENGTHS: How can ECE practitioners leverage the strengths and assets of families and communities to encourage regular attendance?
  • IMPROVING PROGRAMS: What barriers might exist within families, programs, communities or policies to reducing chronic absenteeism and improving attendance?
  • IMPROVING POLICIES: What systems and policy changes are needed to reduce chronic absenteeism and better support families around regular attendance in the early years?

Check out the full Data Bite to learn more.