New Study Finds That Early Childhood Care and Education Has Lasting Effects

Diane Ravitch's blog

This article reports on a long-term study of the lasting effects of early childhood education.

The article is misleadingly titled “Project to Improve Poor Children’s Intellect Led to Better Health, Data Shows.”

But the study involved far more than improving young children’s intellect.

In 1972, researchers in North Carolina started following two groups of babies from poor families. In the first group, the children were given full-time day care up to age 5 that included most of their daily meals, talking, games and other stimulating activities. The other group, aside from baby formula, got nothing. The scientists were testing whether the special treatment would lead to better cognitive abilities in the long run.

Forty-two years later, the researchers found something that they had not expected to see: The group that got care was far healthier, with sharply lower rates of high blood pressure and obesity, and higher levels of…

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