It’s just kindergarten, right?

The impact of absenteeism in the workplace is well documented. (A Google search brings up more than 600,000 links!) What’s given less notice, though, is the impact of student absenteeism…specifically in kindergarten through third grade. One in 10 kindergartners is chronically absent, missing a month of school every year.

So what, it’s only kindergarten, right?

On average, kids who miss more than 10 percent of kindergarten score lower on reading and math than kids who miss only 3 percent or less of the year. And they continue to be chronically absent in first grade, too. When kids aren’t in school, they aren’t learning. That doesn’t bode well for the workplace.

Hedy Chang is the director of Attendance Works. She’ll be speaking at the Parents as Teachers Conference in November on curbing chronic early absenteeism. When kindergarteners are absent, they’re often excused, she says, so it’s not until they fall behind that any one really notices. But for children in poverty this only adds to the learning challenges they face. (Not surprisingly, chronic absenteeism is income-related: in all grades, the lower family income, the higher the absenteeism rates says a recent study  by the National Center for Children in Poverty.)

Parents as Teachers helps parents transition together with their children into kindergarten…creating a pattern of regular attendance very early on. You can hear Hedy Chang speak by registering here.

Or as a committed employer concerned about a viable workforce, you can help sponsor the conference here.