New evidence has found that preschool education for 3- and 4-year-olds can improve health and longevity, and reduce persistent educational gaps.
The evidence suggests greater gains for those in poverty, but because children in middle-income households also benefit, gains accrue to the population as a whole.
Researchers found a remarkable number of U.S.-based studies revealing long-term health and longevity benefits for preschool education.
The well-known Perry Preschool study found health benefits for participants and their children over many decades. The federal Head Start program has been found to reduce depression and the use of alcohol and tobacco by middle school.
And a very recent study found preschool attendance was linked to a 6 percent increase in high school graduation, an 18 percent increase in on-time college attendance and a 5.5 percent increase in attendance at a four-year college.
These positive effects were found for children from middle- as well as low-income backgrounds.