New research suggests that young kids could benefit from more time around their peers in a classroom setting.
A new study released Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that children are better prepared for learning and social interaction in full-time preschool than in part-time programs.
Researchers looked at 1,000 low-income and ethnic-minority 3- and 4-year-olds enrolled in Chicago’s Child-Parent Center Education Program and noted improvement in four of six measures of school readiness. Children placed in full-day programs showed higher scores in social development, language, math and physical health than their part-day peers, according to the study.
“You can just go so much further in all the domains of learning in a seven-hour program,” Arthur J. Reynolds, a researcher at the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis who led the study, told Bloomberg in an interview yesterday. “These 30 to 40 percent differences in preschool turn into bigger benefits over time.”
Literacy and cognition performance were not significantly affected by a longer preschool day, the study showed.
President Barack Obama has argued that spending on the nation's youngest students will lead to better performance for children later on, and has pushed Congress to make pre-kindergarten education universal.