For years, researchers have sought to understand the lasting impact of preschool — with some studies finding long-term benefits, and others indicating that gains tend to fade quite early. Even when long-term benefits are revealed, researchers haven’t discovered much about the underlying causes of those gains — and which preschool variables might account for lasting impact or early fade-out.
A new longitudinal study by researchers at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, published in the journal Child Development, moves the needle on that goal. The study connects the dots between gains in early academic and self-regulatory skills made in preschool and, years later, grades in high school. Broadly, it suggests that providing support for preschool teachers in low-income settings can benefit children in ways that last into high school.