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Benefits of Early Childhood Education

The benefits of early childhood education are numerous. Research shows that investing in children from low-income families benefits not only those children but also entire communities. Children who attend preschool are more likely to graduate from high school, earn more in their jobs later in life, experience lower rates of poverty, and are less likely to engage in criminal activity. High quality preschool lowers school expenditures due to reduced grade repetition and lower special education costs; results in more and better jobs, as employers are attracted to communities with a more highly educated workforce; and lowers healthcare costs.

Check out what the experts have to say about the importance of preschool for all children:

TED Talk: The Economic Case for Preschool by Timothy Bartik, Senior Economist at the W. E. Upjohn Institute

Steven Barnett, Ph.D., director of the National Institute for Early Education Research
“Children who attend high-quality preschool enter kindergarten with better pre-reading skills, richer vocabularies, and stronger basic math skills than those who do not.”

Dr. Jack Shonkoff, Harvards Center on the Developing Child
“A child who walks through the kindergarten doors ready to learn, ready to make the most of the vital first years of elementary school, is far more likely to succeed in school and in life.”

The Institute for a Competitive Workforce, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)3 affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
“Early childhood education is not only a smart investment with positive returns, but it is the right thing to do. Our nation cannot afford the cost of inaction. In decades past, the United States proudly claimed premier international status as home to the best and brightest. Today’s U.S. rankings, however, prove that we have a long way to go to reach the top of the list again. With current early childhood education resource levels, too many kindergarteners will continue to begin school ill-prepared, language skills and achievement scores in math and reading will likely remain at mediocre levels, costs for interventions during the K–12 years and after will continue to rise, high school graduation rates and postsecondary degree completion rates will likely remain unchanged, and businesses will lack the necessary workforce to fill the jobs of the future. The research is clear. Early learning opportunities for children from birth to age five have great impact on a child’s development and build a strong foundation for learning and success later in life.”

Starting Out Right: Pre-k and Kindergarten, Center for Public Education
“Society benefits, too. Nobel-Prize-winning economist James Heckman estimates that every dollar spent on early childhood education returns 10 cents annually over the life of a child (Heckman 2011). For example, if $8,000 is invested in early childhood education at birth for a child who goes on to live until 65, the return on the investment would be over $650,000, which is nearly 80 times the amount of the original investment of $8,000 (Heckman 2011). This is because students in pre-k are less likely to be placed in special education, less likely to be retained in grade, and more likely to graduate with a high school diploma than similar students who didn’t attend pre-k (Gayl 2008).”