Investing in Our Future: The Evidence Base on Preschool Education

Source: Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Christina Weiland, Jeanne-Brooks-Gunn, Margaret R. Burchinal, Linda M. Espinoza, William T. Gormley, Jens Ludwig, Katherine A. Magnuson, Deborah Phillips, and Martha J. Zaslow, Society for Research in Child Development, Foundation for Child Development, October 2013

From the summary:
For the first time in a generation, national legislation on publicly-funded preschool education is the focus of prominent debate. The research brief “Investing in Our Future: The Evidence Base on Preschool Education,” reviews rigorous evidence on why early skills matter, which children benefit from preschool, the short- and long-term effects of preschool programs on children’s school readiness and life outcomes, the importance of program quality, and the costs versus benefits of preschool education.

Key findings include:

  • Large-scale public preschool programs can have substantial impacts on children’s early learning.
  • Quality preschool education is a profitable investment.
  • The most important aspects of quality in preschool education are stimulating and supportive interactions between teachers and children and effective use of curricula.
  • Supporting teachers in their implementation of instructional approaches through coaching or mentoring can yield important benefits for children.
  • Quality preschool education can benefit middle-class children as well as disadvantaged children; typically developing children as well as children with special needs; and dual language learners as well as native speakers.
  • A second year of preschool shows additional benefits.
  • Long-term benefits occur despite convergence of test scores.
    There are important benefits of comprehensive services when these added services are carefully chosen and targeted.
  • See also:
    Executive summary