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Preschool has enduring benefits for disadvantaged children — and their children, new research finds

May 15, 2019
Anne Shimke

It’s not just at-risk children who reap long-term educational and earnings benefits from high-quality preschool programs. It’s also their siblings and their eventual offspring.

The potential for preschool to lift multiple generations out of poverty is one of the key findings from a pair of new studies from University of Chicago professor James Heckman, known for his groundbreaking research on the economics of early childhood education.

The research, released Tuesday by Heckman and co-author Ganesh Karapakula, takes previous studies showing preschool benefits a step further by demonstrating positive effects on siblings and subsequent generations. In addition to better educational and employment outcomes, siblings and children of preschool participants were less likely to be involved in crime than siblings and children of control group members.