With a new school year in full swing, parents of preschool-aged children may be asking themselves whether or attending preschool makes much a difference for young developing minds.
After all, the costs can sometimes be high. Also, the children going into these programs are usually so young, it’s not hard to see why some parents might feel their kid could gain the same benefits from day care or staying at home.
So, can attending preschool really make a difference in a child’s development?
The answer, according to a new study released in the journal of Child Development, is yes — if the program is a quality one.
The Chicago School Readiness Project (CSRP) is a longitudinal study spanning 10 years and tracking 466 low-income, racially and ethnically diverse 3- and 4-year-olds from preschool to the start of high school.
About half the participants attended Head Start programs where teachers received professional development and coaching focused on positive discipline strategies and providing help in managing their own stress in the classroom. The other half attended traditional Head Start programs.
The participants in those classrooms where teachers received additional training were still showing gains by as much as a quarter of a letter grade by the start high school.