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Prev Med. 1998 Mar-Apr;27(2):233-7.

Changing early childhood development through educational intervention.

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  • 1High/Scope Educational Research Foundation, Ypsilanti, Michigan 48198, USA.


A major issue in child development is the extent to which educational intervention can impact the pattern of growth. The High/Scope Perry Preschool study, which began in 1962, has now reported results through age 27. These findings indicate significantly improved social responsibility and educational performance in adult life by children who participated when compared with the randomly assigned nonparticipating group of children. A benefit-cost study found a return of $7.16 for each dollar invested. However, such outcomes are found only from specific, high-quality operations. The longitudinal High/Scope Curriculum Comparison study found that children who had experienced a highly intensive academic program were significantly less socially responsible at age 23 than were children from programs that encouraged individual choice and initiative. These studies indicate that children at ages 3 and 4 are at a sensitive period in their development toward stable adult-behavior patterns. High-quality early education programs can significantly improve adult adjustment and performance. However, such programs need to involve the child in active experiences and independent decision-making to be effective.

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