#22 – Early Childhood Education

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Please click to listen to the WFIT Minute: Track 22 – Early Childhood Education

Based on Research by Arthur J. Reynolds, Ph.D.. Psychology Science Minute written by Juanita N. Baker, Ph.D.

Psychology Science Minute brought to you by the School of Psychology at Florida Institute of Technology, I’m Dr. Sarah Arnett.

Is it wise to fund early childhood education?  What is the evidence?

Dr. Arthur Reynolds and his team carried out a controlled long-term study of the Chicago Public Schools’ federally funded Child Parent Centers’ preschool enrichment program that focused on developing early language skills and self-confidence. Early education provided services for low-income mostly African American families beginning at age three in 20 school sites. The kindergarten and school-age program had smaller classes, teacher aides, and instructional and family support services that were provided up to third grade.

Follow-up interviews collected data from many sources for 26 years. These children were compared to a group of about 500 similar children who didn’t take part in the early education but participated in the usual educational interventions for disadvantaged youths in Chicago schools.

Results showed high-quality early childhood programs can contribute to significantly higher educational attainment and income, and less substance abuse, smoking, depression, and felony arrests. Males at higher levels of risk experienced the highest economic benefits

These outcomes are beneficial for individuals as well as society, and the economic payback exceeds the program costs (increased tax revenues, less expense related to crime and savings on child welfare).  Our states and nation can choose wisely to fund preschool and supplementary parent programs.

That’s your Florida Tech Psychology Science Minute. I’m Dr. Sarah Arnett.

References

Reynolds, A.J., Temple, J.A., Ou, S., Arteaga, I.A. B.A.B. (2011). School-Based Early Childhood Education and Age-28 Well-Being: Effects by Timing, Dosage, and Subgroups. Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1203618, retrieved from http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2011/06/08/science.1203618

Arthur J. Reynolds, Judy A. Temple, Barry A. B. White, Suh-Ruu Ou, Dylan L. Robertson. Age 26 Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Child-Parent Center Early Education Program. Child Development, 2011; 82 (1): 379 DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2010.01563.x

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