Early childhood education: The long-term benefits
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Linda Bakken, Nola Brown & Barry Downing (2017) Early Childhood Education: The Long-Term Benefits, Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 31:2, 255-269, DOI: 10.1080/02568543.2016.1273285
This study was designed to substantiate the positive, long-term outcomes demonstrated by children from economically disadvantaged homes who received a high-quality, early education. Children who attended The Opportunity Project (TOP) Early Learning Centers in a midwestern city in the United States were matched with a like control sample from a local school system and followed from kindergarten through 4th grade. In 3rd and 4th grades, standardized state assessment outcomes for math and reading were collected on the two groups; data also were collected on discipline referrals, attendance rates, and special education placements for all grades. In the 4th grade, the TOP group scored significantly higher on math and reading tests. TOP children had significantly higher attendance rates than the control group; by the 4th grade, TOP students had significantly fewer discipline referrals. TOP students were identified for special education earlier and moved to mainstream classes sooner than the control group. Each year, teachers of TOP graduates completed questionnaires comparing TOP students to the remaining students in their classes on three social variables: appropriate behaviors, social interactions, and emotional maturity. Results indicated TOP children used significantly more appropriate behaviors, were significantly better at social interactions, and were significantly more emotionally mature than their non-TOP peers.
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