Does Preschool Matter?

Provocative post from Slate:

How important is preschool? 
If you are researching early education philosophies, not very. 

In work they conducted at the University of Kansas and chronicled in their book Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children, Betty Hart and Todd Risley recorded, for two-and-a-half years, a full hour of conversation every day between parents and children from 42 American families of differing social classes. Children with professional parents heard about 30 million words by the time they turned 3, compared with 20 million in working-class families and 10 million in welfare families. In addition, the ratio of parental encouragements to reprimands was about 6-to-1 among professional families, 2-to-1 among the working class and 1-to-2 in welfare homes. These different experiences closely tracked with the children’s later academic and intellectual performance, and other studies have since supported these findings. — Melinda Moyer

Positive engagement trumps facility type. It doesn’t seem to matter where that engagement happens. But if there’s poor home engagement, preschool can diffuse the impact.

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