A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association comparing full day preschool programs with part of day programs suggests full day programs might improve school readiness.
Of course this single USA study is not sufficient for Australian and New Zealand parents to conclude they should send their 3 & 4 year old children to full day preschool in preference to part day, if they have a choice. There are many other factors to consider including the quality of the pre-school programs, and the quality of parent/carer interactions with the children at home.
And because the study focussed on low inclome, ethnic minority children in Chicago, the results of the study may be different from what would be found in Australia and New Zealand.
Nevertheless, with more and more parents wanting to give their children the best start in their formal schooling and looking for school readiness programs, this study does provide food for thought.
Key points from the study included:
- The full day program children had higher school readiness scores for social-emotional development, language skills and maths awareness
- An accompanying editorial in the same issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association stated that the study "provides evidence that high quality, full-day programs are educationally more valuable than part-day programs."
Read a summary of the study in Science Daily.