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Research on Early Childhood Education




PreK Programs Will Reap Billions in Benefits

Economist Robert G. Lynch found that investment in high quality prekindergarten programs generates billions of dollars in economic and other benefits for the federal and state governments. The study, Enriching Children, Enriching the Nation, published by the nonpartisan Economic Policy Institute, shows huge benefits whether programs are universal or targeted to three- and four-year-old children from poor families.
Enriching Children, Enriching the Nation (May 2007) - EPI.

PreK Programs Reduce Future Crime

A longitudinal study of participants in a Chicago public schools program serving preK through third grade students reported that at age 24 program participants had acquired more education and were less likely to commit crimes than those who did not receive the same level of service. This study is a 19-year followup report in an ongoing study of Chicago's Child-Parent Center program, which appears in the August 2007 issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, a monthly journal.

PreK Program Pays Off in Academic Development

New Mexico's preK initiative is paying off for its four-year-old participants in greater improvement in early language, literacy, and math development, according to The Effects of the New Mexico PreK Initiative on Young Children's School Readiness, a study released August 2007 by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at Rutgers University. The research was conducted by Jason T. Hustedt, W. Steven Barnett, and Kwanghee Jung.

Policy Makers Should Consider Full-Day Preschool (May 2006)

A study by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) finds that the benefits of full-day preschool over half-day programs are significant and concludes that "policy makers should strongly consider implementation of full-day preschool." The report discusses a randomized trial that compared children from low-income families in half-day and full-day public preschool programs.

Results show that children attending full-day programs did better on mathematics and literacy tests than children in a 2.5 to 3-hour public preschool program and the achievement gains continued at least until the end of first grade.

Benefits of Preschool

The journal Developmental Psychology has published research that confirms that Oklahoma's pre-kindergarten program is successfully helping kids prepare for school. (Oklahoma is one of the few states to offer preschool to every four year old.) While learning gains were made by children of different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, the study found the most significant improvements among Hispanic children. Researchers made a point of noting that the preschool program was staffed by well-educated, well-trained teachers who earn regular public school salaries.
The Effects of Universal Pre-K on Cognitive Development (2005)
The Effectiveness of Early Head Start for 3-Year-Old Children and Their Parents: Lessons for Policy and Programs (2005)
Study Backs Benefits of Preschool (2005) - Listen to the National Public Radio story by Michelle Trudeau.

Long-Term Benefits

The two most-often cited studies thought to prove the long-term benefits of early childhood education.
High/Scope Perry Preschool Study
Abecedarian Early Childhood Intervention Project

Child Trends Offers Range of Research Services

Child Trends, a nonprofit and nonpartisan children's research organization, provides research and data on the benefits of early childhood education, a description of practices that support school readiness  and more. It collects and analyzes data; conducts, synthesizes, and disseminates research; designs and evaluates programs; and develops and tests promising approaches to research in the field. Founded in 1979, Child Trends has achieved a reputation as one of the nation's leading sources of credible data and high-quality research on children.
Table of Practices That Support School Readiness  
Child Trends

Eager to Learn: Educating Our Preschoolers

This report provides an in-depth perspective on the components of quality preschool programs; principles of learning that should be incorporated into preschool curriculum (without endorsing any particular curriculum), and appropriate use of early childhood assessments. The report includes recommendations regarding professional development, development of curricula and assessment tools, and public policies at the state and federal levels. The report is from the Committee on Early Childhood Pedagogy of the National Research Council's Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education.

Early Childhood Research & Practice

Early Childhood Research & Practice (ECRP), a peer-reviewed electronic journal sponsored by the Early Childhood and Parenting (ECAP) Collaborative at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, covers topics related to the development, care, and education of children from birth to approximately age 8. ECRP emphasizes articles reporting on practice-related research and development, and on issues related to practice, parent participation, and policy.
Early Childhood and Parenting (ECAP) Collaborative

Importance of Early Experiences

The Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K) is an ongoing effort by the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The study follows a nationally representative sample of approximately 22,000 children from kindergarten through fifth grade in an effort to increase public awareness of the importance of children's early experiences in care and education evidenced by the National Education Goal on school readiness.
Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-99 (ECLS-K)