Early Childhood Development

Lifetime Effects: The HighScope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40 (2005)

Excerpt: This long term study examined the impact of early childhood education on a group of individuals from 1962 through the present day. Excerpt: “From 1962-1967, at ages 3 and 4, the subjects were randomly divided into a program group that received a high-quality preschool program based on HighScope’s participatory learning approach and a comparison group who received no preschool program. In the study’s most recent phase, 97% of the study participants still living were interviewed at age 40. Additional data were gathered from the subjects’ school, social services, and arrest records.”

“The study found that adults at age 40 who had the preschool program had higher earnings, were more likely to hold a job, had committed fewer crimes, and were more likely to have graduated from high school than adults who did not have preschool.”

Preschool Experience in 10 Countries: Cognitive and Language Performance at Age 7
High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, 2006

Excerpt – Selected findings:“Controlling for family and cultural influences, four findings emerged that are consistent across all of the countries included in the data analysis.

Children’s language performance at age 7 improves as:

  • The predominant types of children’s activities that teachers propose are free- choice rather than personal/social. From greatest to least contribution, activity types were as follows: free-choice activities (teachers let children choose); physical/expressive activities (gross- and fine-motor physical activity, dramatic play, arts, crafts, and music); preacademic activities (reading, writing, numbers, mathematics, physical science, and social science); and personal/social activities (personal care, group social activities, and discipline).
  • Teachers’ number of years of full-time schooling increases.

Children’s cognitive performance at age 7 improves as

  • Children spend less time in whole group activities (the teacher proposes the same activity for all the children in the class-songs, games, listening to a story, working on a craft, or a preacademic activity).
  • The number and variety of equipment and materials available to children in preschool settings increases.”

The Economics of Investing in Universal Preschool Education in California
Rand Corporation, 2005

Partial Summary: There is increased interest in California and other states in providing universal access to publicly funded high-quality preschool education for one or two years prior to kindergarten entry. In considering such a program, policymakers and the public focus on the potential benefits from a universal preschool program, as well as the estimated costs. This study aims to inform such deliberations by conducting an analysis of the economic returns from investing in preschool education in the state of California. The benefit-cost analysis undertaken in this study indicates that there can be positive returns for California society from investing in a one-year high-quality universal preschool program. The authors’ baseline estimate, which is arguably conservative, is that every dollar invested by the public sector beyond current spending will generate $2.62 in returns. And this estimate does not account for an array of other benefits not captured in their analysis because of data limitations.

National Scientific Council on the Developing Child
Website, 2009

Excerpt: The National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, housed at the Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University, is a multi-disciplinary collaboration designed to bring the science of early childhood and early brain development to bear on public decision-making. Established in 2003, the Council is committed to an evidence-based approach to building broad-based public will that transcends political partisanship and recognizes the complementary responsibilities of family, community, workplace, and government to promote the well-being of all young children.

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