School-Based Early Childhood Education and Age-28 Well-Being
Posted by on June 20, 2011
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One of the largest and longest follow-up studies on preschool finds its enduring benefits last well into adulthood, The San Francisco Chronicle reports. Better jobs, less drug abuse, and fewer arrests are among advantages identified by the study, recently published online in the journal Science, which tracked more than 1,000 low-income, mostly black Chicago kids for up to 25 years. Chicago’s intensive Child-Parent Center Education Program is ongoing and publicly funded, and focuses on language development, scholastic skills, and building self-confidence. It involves one or two years of half-day preschool, and up to four additional years of educational and family services in grade school. Preschool teachers have college degrees and are certified in early childhood education, and parents are encouraged to be involved in the classes. The study’s lead researcher, Arthur Reynolds of the University of Minnesota, said the average cost per child for 18 months of preschool in 2011 is $9,000, but his cost-benefit analysis suggests at least $90,000 in benefits per child in terms of increased earnings, tax revenue, less criminal behavior, reduced mental health costs, and other measures. “No other social program for children and youth has been shown to have that level of return on investment,” he said.
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