Preschool Creates Long Term Benefits for Students

A new survey points out something that most of us have known for a long time: a better early education can have lasting and beneficial results for students’ entire lives. What kind of benefits are we talking about here? Surprisingly, it’s not just increased levels of intelligence or capabilities; the new study shows that preschool can lead to better jobs, fewer arrests, and less drug abuse.
This study followed more than 1,000 children from low-income families for more than 25 years. One of these students is Michael Washington. When he was four-years old, Washington attended a preschool where he took field trips to educational sites like the library and planetarium. These experiences are where Washington first discovered his love of science. He is now a heating and air conditioning and ceiling fan contractor.
“You expect your mom and dad to care for you,” Washington said. “But when a stranger, who has no ties to you whatsoever, takes the time to invest in you, takes the time to listen, that makes you open your eyes bigger. It was real cool.”

Washington did well in high school and attended Chicago State University for two years. Many of the other children who lived in Washington’s neighborhood did not do as well: several got involved with drugs and were arrested.
Although the average family can expect to pay approximately $9,000 for 18-months of preschool, this initial expense is a great investment in a child’s future. According to Arthur Reynolds, the study’s lead researcher, a preschool education can lead to at least $90,000 in benefits for the child later in life through increased earnings and tax revenue and decreased criminal behavior and mental health costs.
“No other social program for children and youth has been shown to have that level of return on investment,” said Reynolds.
There are also non-financial benefits of attending preschool. For example:

  • 80 percent of students who attended preschool graduated from high school; only 75 percent of those who did not attend preschool finished high school.
  • Those who had attended preschool were 5 percent less likely to abuse drugs than those who had not attended.
  • 21 percent of those who had not attended preschool had spent some time in jail versus only 15 percent of those who had attended preschool.

Via The Huffington Post
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