NEW YORK (UPI) — The evidence is clear the benefits of preschool education outweigh the costs for middle-class children and low-income families, U.S. researchers say.
Lead author Dr. Hiro Yoshikawa, a professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School, said evidence tells a great deal about what works in early education and how early education might be improved.
“The recent evidence includes evaluations of city-wide public preschool programs such as those in Tulsa and Boston,” co-author Dr. Deborah A. Phillips, a professor of psychology at Georgetown University, said in a statement. “Evaluations of these programs tell us that preschool programs implemented at scale can be high quality, can benefit children from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds and can reduce disparities.”
The research brief found:
— Large-scale public preschool programs that are of high quality can have substantial impacts on children’s early learning. Preschool systems in Tulsa and Boston have produced gains of between half and a full year of additional learning in reading and math.
— Quality preschool education is profitable. Benefit-cost estimates based on older, intensive interventions as well as contemporary, large-scale public preschool programs range from $3-$7 saved for every dollar spent.
— The most important aspect of quality in preschool education is stimulating and supportive interactions between teachers and children.
— A key pathway to quality is supporting teachers in their implementation of instructional approaches through coaching or mentoring.
— Quality preschool education can benefit middle-class children as well as disadvantaged children.
The researchers presented the finding at the New America Foundation in Washington.