ERIC Number: ED541832
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Nov
Investing in Early Childhood Education: A Global Perspective
Barnett, W. S.; Nores, M.
National Institute for Early Education Research
The last several decades have seen growing global interest in the potential for public investments in early childhood care and education (ECCE) to improve the development of young children, especially those from socially disadvantaged groups. This interest is based on evidence of the importance of environmental influences on early cognitive and social development, the human and economic costs of poor developmental trajectories for children in poverty, and the potential for early interventions to alter those developmental trajectories. The body of research establishing the importance of investing in education in the first five years of life has grown substantially in recent years providing a basis for optimism, but also cautions regarding the specific circumstances under which high economic returns can be produced in practice on a large scale. Research from the United States on the importance of early environment for cognitive development goes back to the 1930s, and research indicating that intensive, high-quality ECCE has direct and persistent effects on cognitive, social, and emotional development dates from the 1960s. Randomized trials find short- and long-term effects on intelligence, subject matter knowledge and skills, pro-social and anti-social behaviors, executive functions, delinquency, crime, and mental health including depression. As discussed in this paper, there are clear economic consequences of these long-term effects, including increased earnings in the labor force for the children participating in these programs and, in some cases, their mothers. These randomized trials have studied a wide range of ECCE interventions including part-day preschool at ages 3 and 4, full-day educationally rich child care from the first year of life, and home visitation with parents beginning prenatally.
Descriptors: Disadvantaged Youth, Emotional Development, Child Care, Child Development, Early Childhood Education, Cognitive Development, Home Visits, Global Approach, Social Development, Early Intervention, Outcomes of Education, Evidence
National Institute for Early Education Research. Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, 73 Easton Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. Tel: 848-932-4350; Fax: 732-932-4360; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.nieer.org
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Preschool Education
Authoring Institution: National Institute for Early Education Research