Universal Preschool Movement

The Universal Preschool movement started in France with Ecoles Maternalles in 1834.

Various other European Countries adopted some form of Universal Preschool including Sweden.

The movement gained ground in the United States as public opinion changed from viewing young children as the responsibility of only families to viewing it as a shared responsibility between families and society. To date, various states have begun implementation of a Universal Preschool system including Georgia, Florida, New Jersey, Oklahoma and others. Many programs have been started by the Legislature and Governor. New Jersey's program came out of a court decision based on the poor quality of education in large parts of the state. Florida's Universal Preschool was established by initiative approved by the voters that left much of the program to be implemented by the Governor and Legislature. Georgia dedicated their lottery profits for preschool.

On June 6th, 2006, California voters soundly defeated an initiative that would have established part day preschool for all four year olds as a constitutional right. The initiative included an unusual provision that imposed a dedicated tax on those in very wealthy income brackets. Those taxes were to be placed in a separate fund, and remain independent to the state budget. Text of the initiative can be found at Preschool for All Act. The initiative was sponsored by film director and actor, Rob Reiner