The Intersection of Health and Education to Address School Readiness of All Children

Jaime W. Peterson,
Susanna Loeb,
Lisa J. Chamberlain
Year of publication
Children who enter kindergarten healthy and ready to learn are more likely to succeed academically. Children at the highest risk for not being ready for school live in poverty and/or with chronic health conditions. High-quality early childhood education (ECE) programs can be used to help kids be ready for school; however, the United States lacks a comprehensive ECE system, with only half of 3- and 4-year-olds being enrolled in preschool, lagging behind 28 high-income countries. As addressing social determinants of health gains prominence in pediatric training and practice, there is increasing interest in addressing ECE disparities. Unfortunately, evidence is lacking for clinically based, early educational interventions. New interventions are being developed asynchronously in pediatrics and education, often without knowledge of the evidence base in the other’s literature. In this State-of-the-Art Review, we synthesize the relevant work from the field of education (searchable through the Education Resources Information Center, also known as the “PubMed” of education), combining it with relevant literature in PubMed, to align the fields of pediatrics and education to promote this timely transdisciplinary work. First, we review the education literature to understand the current US achievement gap. Next, we provide an update on the impact of child health on school readiness and explore emerging solutions in education and pediatrics. Finally, we discuss next steps for future transdisciplinary work between the fields of education and pediatrics to improve the health and school readiness of young children.

Suggested Citation

Peterson, J.W, Loeb, S., & Chamberlain, L.J. (2018). The Intersection of Health and Education to Address School Readiness of All Children. Pediatrics, 142(5)