A study conducted across four universities investigated the Educare early education programs ability to reduce the achievement gap between children from low-income families and those from more economically advantaged families. Educare is an early education program for children from 6 weeks to 5 years that operates in 21 schools in 18 U.S. cities. It offers full-day, year-round comprehensive services, including enriching educational experiences, in infant-toddler classrooms of 8 children and 3 adults.
The study found that after a year of immersion in the program, the participants has better language skills, fewer behavior problems and more positive interactions with their parents. The research has further highlighted that starting a comprehensive early childhood education program early can improve the outcome of infants and toddlers from low-income families.
"Our results are important because they offer more evidence that providing enriching experiences early in life can set children from low-income families on more productive paths," says Noreen Yazejian, senior research scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, who led the study.
While the cost to implement such a program are higher than average, researchers must now find away to replicate the principles so that this gap can continue to be reduced across all low and middle-income communities and countries.