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The Extraordinary Power of Preschool

March 11, 2012, 9:32 AM
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What's the Latest Development?

According to a host of studies, preschool does wonders for early cognitive development and plays an important role in later-life success. One exemplary study was completed by Nobel Prize-winning economist James Heckman, who surveyed 123 low-income African-American children from Michigan, half of whom went to preschool, half of whom did not. As the children grew over the following decades, those who attended preschool were 20 percent more likely to have graduated from high school and 19 percent less likely to have been arrested more than five times. 

What's the Big Idea?

More than increase the chance of leading a fulfilling life, which is no small thing, preschool plays an important role in mediating the relationship between nature and nurture, between genes and upbringing. According to a national sample of 1,200 identical and fraternal twins carried out in 2001, researchers found that preschool compensated, in cognitive terms, for a home life that was not entirely nurturing. Preschool is a great societal equalizer, helping to overcome environmental factors and allow individuals to realize their full genetic potential. 

Photo credit: shutterstock.com


 

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