pre-school education

Does pre-school education give children an advantage?

Attending kindergarten can provide children with benefits that last well beyond preschool.

Children who attend quality preschools show more self-regulating behavior and academic skills than their counterparts who do not attend preschools, new research shows.

Benefits such as an increased vocabulary gained from socializing with other children and a love for books can give children a boost throughout their school careers.

Children who attend preschools where teachers receive additional training may still show academic gains of up to a quarter letter early in high school.

With a new school year in full swing, parents of preschoolers may wonder if going to preschool makes a big difference to young, developing minds.

After all, the costs can sometimes be high. Moreover, the children who participate in these programs are usually so young that it is not difficult to understand why some parents think their children could derive the same benefits from daycare or staying at home.

So, can going to kindergarten really make a difference in a child’s development?

The answer, according to a new study published in the journal Child Development , is yes – if the program is quality.

The Chicago School Readiness Project (CSRP) is a 10-year longitudinal study that follows 466 low-income, racially and ethnically diverse 3- and 4-year-olds from kindergarten through early high school.

About half of the participants participated in Head Start programs where teachers received professional development and coaching focused on positive discipline strategies and managing their own stress in the classroom. The other half participated in traditional Head Start programs.

Participants in classrooms where teachers received additional training continued to earn up to a quarter letter when they entered high school.

The researchers concluded that the training teachers received led to a more positive classroom environment that had immediate results on students’ self-regulating behavior and academic skills – benefits that continued for years.

However, the study notes that “the effects of the program on early self-regulation skills did not predict improvements in leadership functions when participants were in high school.”

Nevertheless, this is not the first study to produce similar results. In fact, the Perry Preschool Project of the 1960s also shed light on how preschools run by highly trained teachers could have lasting effects on students, especially those from disadvantaged and at-risk backgrounds.

The true impact of preschool

“Pre-school education has many advantages ”  said American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) spokesperson P. Gail Williams, who is also a developmental and behavioral pediatrician. How to agree, the concessions, it is important. »

She noted that it can also have lasting academic benefits.

“We know that children learn in these early years through play, participating in play situations in which they pick up vocabulary while playing and learning from other children,” she explained.

She said the benefits of learning self-regulation and some of the basics, like a love of books, can come from kindergarten and give children a boost throughout their school careers. .

It is a position that Tara Phebus , executive director of the Nevada Institute for Children’s Research and Policy, shares.

“Some of the most commonly cited benefits for preschoolers include improving vocabulary and other pre-literacy skills as well as learning pre-math skills like counting, sorting, and pattern recognition,” she said, emphasizing that this is in addition to the social and emotional benefits that come with it.

Reaching at-risk youth

Studies have shown that the impact of early childhood education can be particularly significant for children living in poverty – children who might otherwise face other challenges in the school years to come.

According to the AAP , poverty, race, and early trauma can all contribute to gaps in educational achievement. Closing and preventing these gaps often begins with providing a quality early childhood education program.

“Early childhood education benefits all children, but is especially important for underserved children who need an extra head start to learn before entering primary school,” says Amy Nash-Kille , PhD, Senior Director of Research and Evaluation at KinderCare.

It is for this reason that Williams supports the implementation of universal preschool programs.

“I just think it could make such a difference for so many children,” she explains, explaining that the sooner we can reach the children most at risk of falling behind, the greater the impact we will have. we can have.

“Obviously that was the idea behind the Jumpstart program. And if we could get that back into action, focusing on the quality of those programs, I think that would help so many preschoolers tremendously,” Ms. Williams said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *