Early Childhood Intervention Programs: What Do We Know?
AbstractIt is disappointing that numerous studies have not produced more consistent evidence of the long-term effectiveness (or lack of effectiveness) of early intervention. However, all studies are not created equal, and better studies tend to find larger and more significant long-term effects. Moreover, we show below that the proven short- and medium-term benefits of Head Start already pay back much of the cost of the program. The existing literature also provides some guidelines for the design of early intervention programs. Specifically, it suggests that while it may be useful to intervene before 3 years old, interventions for preschool and school age children can also be effective. Second, the effects of early intervention are generally larger for more disadvantaged children, which provides a rationale for targeting such programs to these children. Third, the most important aspect of child care quality is the nature of the interaction between the teacher and the child. Small group sizes, better teacher training, and other regulable aspects of quality all make positive interactions more likely. Moreover, even rather loose federal oversight of these observable aspects of quality can be effective in eliminating poor-quality programs.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research in its series JCPR Working Papers with number 169.
Date of creation: 25 May 2000
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