Education
12:00 pm
Thu June 14, 2012

How much does preschool matter?

Preschool matters a lot. Particularly for low income kids. In Michigan, low income students with one year of preschool were found to do better in school than other low income kids, and positive effects of that early education were seen all the way through 12th grade.

Those results are from a 14-year study of 500 Michigan children. The study is part of a recent evaluation of the state Great Start Readiness Program.

Laurie Linscott runs the lab preschool at Michigan State University. She says the results of the study didn't surprise her.

"If children have a really great foundation where they have success in preschool, they're able to keep up with their peers who maybe have other opportunities that they might not have," said Linscott.

Children with one year of preschool did better than other low-income kids on several education benchmarks like fourth grade standardized tests and high school graduation.

Linscott also says preschool can change a family's approach to education. She said, "The goal of the Great Start Readiness Program is the family engagement piece, and I think that partnership started early would carry into the upper grades and I think that's a key component the success."

The findings of the preschool study were recently presented to the State Board of Education.