Early learning opportunities will always be beneficial, and the National Education Association validates this by exemplifying the importance of early childhood education. This offers advantages that offsets the few years spent by the people enrolled in it. Without further ado, let's take a closer look on these benefits.
Language, Literacy, and Math Gains
A substantial body of evidence points to developmentally appropriate early childhood education as the primary means of advances in early language, math, and reading skills. Rigorous studies have replicated these results time and time again, both in small and larger early childhood education programs. A recent analysis of 84 early childhood education programs showed that those students enrolled in these programs showed average gains equivalent to about one-third of a year of education beyond what the child would have experienced without preschool access.
Social and Emotional Benefits
One well-known study, the Perry Preschool study, showed that children attending the preschool acted out less aggressively in elementary school compared to those that did not. More recent studies showed that students who had access to early learning programs exhibited a higher level of engagement – evidenced by attentiveness, reduced hyperactivity, and other markers – during their elementary years.
Long Term Impact
Research continues to show that a high-quality education for children under the age of five continues to offer advantages long after the child has left the preschool program. These advantages encompass many aspects of a person's life: earnings, marriage, education, and more. The Perry Preschool study found that the earnings of those who attended a quality preschool program ended up earning up to $2,000 more each month over those who didn’t. Preschool students were also less likely to repeat later grades and were more likely to graduate from high school. More preschool students went on to be homeowners, to sustain longer marriages and avoid getting into legal trouble.
Participants in the Abecedarian study even showed, when evaluated at age 35, improvements in health over peers who were not preschool attendees. High blood pressure and coronary heart disease were found in lower rates among the Abecedarian group as compared to the general population.
Long term benefits weren't limited to individuals, however. The cost savings to society as a whole is substantial: for every dollar spent on early childhood education, $2.50 is saved in the form of reduced health care costs, need for government aid, and higher income.
Advantages for Everyone
While children from low-income families benefit the most from early childhood education programs, the advantages of early learning are documented as applicable to children of all kinds. Both children with special needs and those that show typical development can reap the benefits. Even children from middle-income families thrive when given access to early learning opportunities. Dual language speakers, as well as native language learners, showed similar improvement. Lastly, studies of both private and public preschool programs showed that dual language learners as well as students with special educational needs showed an especially marked improvement.