25 Year Study Shows Time to
Start Education is in Infancy
A twenty five year study published in North Carolina called "the Abecedarian Project" found dramatic potential in working with children as young as 6 weeks of age. The study began in the early 1970s with a question: Could children from poor families with little education be taught from infancy how to succeed in school? The answer came with far more than was expected.
Craig Ramey, the
founder of the study stated, "It's
possible to fundamentally alter the life
course of high risk children if we bring
to bear good early childhood education,
good family support and good health
Day care workers were
trained with videos to work with children
from four months of age to five years. The
program included an introduction to
language, math and reading with daily
reinforcement by day care workers and
parents, and supplemented with good
The twenty-five year
follow up showed that these children were
above their peers starting from grade
school, and they were less likely to drop
out of high school or have babies and more
likely to go to college or work at a
The study shows
benefits of early childhood education
starting from infancy remain throughout
the years, while the benefits derived from
other programs, where children are older
when they begin, wear off as the child
convinced that if policy makers would
spend money on infant early childhood
education, many children who wind up out
of school, unemployed and in trouble can
be saved, can succeed.
Learning begins in infancy. Every child deserves a good start in an environment that is safe, healthy, emotionally supportive, and cognitively stimulating
Children who participated in the early intervention program had higher cognitive test scores from the toddler years to age 21.
Academic achievement in both reading and math was higher from the primary grades through young adulthood.
Intervention children completed more years of education and were more likely to attend a four-year college.
Intervention children were older, on average, when their first child was born.
The cognitive and academic benefits from this program are stronger than for most other early childhood programs.
Enhanced language development appears to have been instrumental in raising cognitive test scores.
Mothers whose children participated in the program achieved higher educational and employment status than mothers whose children were not in the program. These results were especially pronounced for teen mothers.
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