Truancy might bring to mind teenagers skipping class to hang out with their friends or play video games, but in Detroit, it’s the kindergarteners teachers have to worry about.

Almost 70 percent of all kindergarteners in Detroit’s main district miss 10 days of class or more a year, five times the national average for all students.

Among poor children, chronic absence in kindergarten predicts the lowest levels of educational achievement at the end of fifth grade.

Parents may think of kindergarten as finger painting and playing games, but missing a large number of days likely means a child will struggle in school. Experts say children who miss too many days are the least likely to be able to read at grade level later on.

Research on the effects of missing schools is clear: When a child misses two or more days a month — or in other words, is chronically absent — the absences hurt not only the child’s progress, but also the progress of the rest of the class.

Attendance advocates say the misconception that kindergarten is not important is a major reason parents keep their kids at home.

Read the full article on truant kindergarteners by Amanda Rahn at Chalkbeat