Martha J. Bailey, Shuqiao Sun, Brenden Timpe, 06 June 2021

Preschool attendance in the US is largely funded by parents, which means that the children of more affluent and educated parents are more likely to attend.  This column looks at the impact of Head Star, a large-scale preschool programme that serves roughly 1 million children annually in the US. The results show that children age-eligible for Head Start went on to achieve substantially higher levels of education. Head Start also led to improvements in adult economic self-sufficiency. Overall, the findings suggest that a large-scale preschool programme – even one with less per-child expenditures than model preschools – can deliver long-run benefits to students.

Gabriella Conti, 01 May 2020

While the COVID-19 pandemic has global reach, it is not affecting everyone equally. This column focuses on the first years of life and notes how the pandemic is likely to have more adverse effects for vulnerable parents and children. Given that early experiences can have an enduring impact on long-term health and socioeconomic outcomes, it argues that sustaining early childhood interventions is critical to avoid the worsening of inequalities in human development.

Denis Fougère, Carlo Barone, 13 December 2019

Language skills for preschoolers help them achieve more when they get to school, but some parents are better than others at helping their kids to develop these skills. Denis Fougère and Carlo Barone tell Tim Phillips about a successful experiment in Paris to help less-educated parents spend time reading with their children.

Guyonne Kalb, Jan van Ours, 10 June 2013

Young children’s cognitive and non-cognitive development significantly affects outcomes for them later on in life. This column asks what effect reading to young children has. Evidence suggests that children should be regularly read to, especially by their parents. Although reading has little effect on non-cognitive skills, the benefits to cognitive development are huge.

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