Early Childhood Education and Student Achievement (page 2)
The human brain develops more rapidly between birth and age five than during any other subsequent period. 1 The first five years of life are a time of enormous social-emotional, physical and cognitive growth. A child's ability to be attentive, focused and follow directions emerges in the early years. These early years provide a window of opportunity to "set either a sturdy or fragile stage for what follows." 2 Structured early learning fosters these abilities for later success in school and life. 3
Early childhood education influences achievement in the early years.
- Children who participate in high-quality early childhood education develop better language skills, score higher in school-readiness tests and have better social skills and fewer behavioral problems once they enter school. 4
- Kindergarten teachers in Georgia, the first state with voluntary, universal pre-k for four-year-olds, report that children who participated in pre-k were better prepared for kindergarten, especially in the areas of pre-reading, pre-math and social skills. 5
- The Oklahoma universal pre-k program significantly improves children's performance on cognitive tests of pre-reading and reading skills, pre-writing and spelling skills, and math reasoning and problem-solving abilities. 6
Early childhood education influences achievement in the K-12 years.
- Children with high-quality early learning experiences are 40% less likely to need special education or be held back a grade. 7
- Children who attended high-quality early education programs on average outperformed those who did not on school achievement tests between ages 9 and 14. 8
- Children with high-quality early learning experiences are 30% more likely to graduate from high school, and more than twice as likely to go to college. 9
Early childhood education influences achievement in adulthood.
- Children who attended high-quality early education programs on average outperformed those who did not on literacy tests at ages 19 and 27. 10
- Adults who participated in high-quality early childhood education programs during their preschool years are more likely to be literate. Participants are also less likely to be school dropouts, dependent on welfare or arrested for criminal activity. 11
- Adults who participated in high-quality early learning experiences had higher median annual earnings and were more likely to be homeowners. 12
1 Shonkoff, Jack P. & Philips, Deborah A. (Eds). From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Child Development. National Research Council, Institute of Medicine, Washington: National Academy Press, 2000.
3 Bowman, B., Donovan, M.S. & Burns, M.S. Eager to Learn: Educating our Preschoolers. National Research Council, Washington: National Academy Press, 2000.
4 The Children of the Cost, Quality, and Outcomes Study Go To School. NICHD, June 1999, p. 2 and Karoly, Lynn, et al, Investing in Our Children: What We Know and Don't Know About the Costs and Benefits of Early Childhood Interventions. RAND, 1998, xv.
5 Vecchiotti, Sara. Kindergarten: The Overlooked School Year. The Foundation for Child Development, October, 2001, p. 24
6 William T. Gormley, Jr. and Ted Gayer, Public Policy Institute, Georgetown University; Deborah Phillips, Department of Psychology, Georgetown University; Brittany Dawson, Center for Research on Children in the U.S., Georgetown University
7 Reynolds, A.J., Temple, J.A., Robertson, D.L., & Mann, E.A. Age 21 Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Title I Chicago Child-Parent Center Program. Institute for Research on Poverty. Discussion Paper no. 1245-02, 2001.
8 Schweinhart, L. J., Montie, J., Xiang, Z., Barnett, W. S., Belfield, C. R., & Nores, M. Lifetime Effects: The High Scope/Perry Preschool Project Through Age 40. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press, November 2004
12 Schweinhart, L. J., Montie, J., Xiang, Z., Barnett, W. S., Belfield, C. R., & Nores, M. Lifetime Effects: The High Scope/Perry Preschool Project Through Age 40. Ypsilanti, MI: High/Scope Press, November 2004
Reprinted with the permission of the Early Education for All Campaign. © Strategies for Children / Early Education for All. All rights reserved.
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