A study released by the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that children who attended a full-day preschool programme showed greater school readiness at the end of the school year than children who attended the same programme for just half a day, as measured on the readiness subtests of the GOLD Assessment System.
The study participants were mostly low-income ethnic minority children enrolled in Chicago’s Child Parent Centers in 11 Chicago schools. In a study by the Human Capital Research Collaborative, 409 full-day preschool children were compared in a matched non-randomised evaluation to 573 half-day children on measures of socio-emotional competence, language, literacy, maths, physical health, and cognitive development. Full-day children scored an average of 81% on the school readiness scale (half-day children scored an average of 59%) and scored higher in all domains except literacy and cognitive development. Full-day children also demonstrated higher attendance rates than half-dayers. Parental involvement was equivalent for each group.
The researchers plan to follow the children through elementary school to determine whether the gains they demonstrated in preschool continue.
Source: Association of a Full-Day vs Part-Day Preschool Intervention With School Readiness, Attendance, and Parent Involvement (2014), JAMA 312(20)