Parents and pediatricians everywhere are touting the importance of sending your kids to preschool when they reach the age of three or four. Back in 1990, about 33% of three-year-olds and 56% of four-year-olds were enrolled in preschool programs. In 2012, those percentages had risen to 41% and 66% respectively. What a difference!
If your children are nearing three or four years of age, you also may be wondering if preschool is a good option for them. The emphasis on preschool in the past decade or two seems like a good sign, but how do you know what the benefits of preschool actually are? Why has enrollment risen so much? The answer: SCIENCE! Many exciting studies about early childhood development have come out recently, and they have childcare professionals and parents buzzing about the possibilities. Here are four peer-reviewed studies that you may find of interest if you’re considering preschool for your child.
- In Vol. 333, Issue 6040 of the journal Science in 2011, Oxford University professor Edward C. Melhuish published his study simply titled “Preschool Matters”. The study followed 1,400 public school students over 25 years. One of the most interesting findings? “Former preschool students had higher educational levels, incomes, socioeconomic status, and rates of health insurance coverage.”
- HighScope’s Perry Preschool Study follows 123 children who were considered to be at risk of dropping out of school later in life due to conditions like poverty. The study began around 1962–1967 when the children were all between three and four years old and has continued up until a recent phase where interviews were collected on 97% of the children — those who lived to be 40 years old. The study is extensive, but one of their findings was that the children who attended preschool were 17% more likely to complete high school.
- A study from Early Childhood Research Quarterly concluded that there are “longer-term associations of preschool quality with mathematical skills in adding and subtracting through grade 3 (age 9)”.
- “Why Does Preschool Matter” from researchers Hirokazu Yoshikawa, Christina Weiland, and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn actually suggests that kids who attend preschool have shown a tendency to be less depressive and less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol as adults. It should be noted that their long-term study only looked at a localized population of kids, but the results are still fascinating.
Convinced that preschool is a brilliant option? When finding a good preschool, make sure the schools you’re considering use inspiration from studies like these to teach their children. At ICS Coral Gables, our teachers and staff know how important it is to keep improving upon the ways we guide young children. Take a look at our private preschool curriculum today to see how we accomplish that.