MADISON, Wis. -

Four-year-old kindergarten continues to grow across the state with 11 school districts adding 4K for the current school year, according to a Department of Public Instruction release.

Statewide 93 percent of public schools that provide elementary education offer four-year-old kindergarten, according to the release. For the 2013-14 school year, 386 schools districts are offering 4K to more than 48,000 students.

“Communities across Wisconsin know that children who have rich early learning experiences through quality 4K programs are better to thrive in school,” State Superintendent Tony Evers said in the release.

More than 100 of the existing programs use a community approach in which the district, private child care centers and Head Start Centers collaborate to provide services to children and families, according to the release.

Wisconsin is considered a national leader in implementing 4K through the community approach, officials said.

“Whether through traditional programming or Wisconsin’s innovative community approach, 4K works for kids,” Evers said.

Research on 4K shows that students enrolled in quality early education programs perform better in school, are less likely to need special education services, have lower retention rates, and are more likely to graduate from high school, gain employment and avoid incarceration, according to the release.