Preschool is not just cute, it is important and could play a significant role in poverty, crime, the economy, the deficit and many more of society’s problems.
On October 23rd 2012, the NPR radio program called ‘Planet Money’ ran a show in which they detailed several studies and stories about children in preschool. They chronicled two separate studies that took place in the 60s and 70s. The studies were very similar; each took two groups of young children in lower income areas. One group went to preschool, the other (control group) did not go to preschool. At the time, most children did not go to preschool in general.
The purpose of the study originally was gain a better understanding of the readiness children had going into kindergarten. However, they received much more than that. The effects of the studies were astounding. After several months the IQs of the children who went to preschool were higher. The most important aspect of this result is that the children had higher IQs years after the study started, they were tested again at 21 years old and the gap between IQs remained the same.
Even more remarkable was that IQ was not the only result. In both studies, the children who went to preschool had fewer teen pregnancies, less crime, higher income, more likely to have a savings account, have a job and more.
97% of the participants in one of the studies was still being interviewed at age 40 The study found that adults at age 40 who had the preschool program had higher earnings, were more likely to hold a job, had committed fewer crimes, and were more likely to have graduated from high school than adults who did not have preschool. This is almost four decades after preschool.