Preschool Influences on Mathematics Achievement
by Edward C. Melhuish et al.
This article, published in Science, reports on a study based on school children in England. Researchers considered the influence of home environment as well as preschool education and primary school experiences on children’s mathematical development. Children’s cognitive abilities were assessed prior to preschool, and data regarding learning activities in the home were obtained via an interview with the parents. Children’s numeracy and mathematical achievements (based on national assessments) were measured at ages 5, 7, and 11.
The study found that while primary schooling had a larger effect on improved math scores than preschool education did, both were “sufficiently large to be important for any government wishing to maximize educational achievement.” Findings also indicate that any type of preschool education was beneficial to children, but high-quality preschool programs were the most effective.