Early education makes adults wealthier

Early education that is of a high quality can have a positive effect on adulthood, new research has shown. Arthur Reynolds, co-director of the Human Capital Research Collaborative and Professor of Child Development, alongside Judy Temple, a Professor in the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, found such learning can result in improved living standards later in life.

Published in the journal Science, the study revealed individuals who have been involved in an early childhood programme from the age of three were more likely to achieve better academic results, higher socioeconomical status and more job skills.

These people also showed lower rates of substance abuse and incidents of arrest.

Mr Reynolds commented: "A chain of positive influences initiated by large advantages in school readiness and parent involvement leads to better school performance and enrolment in higher quality schools."

Eva Lloyd, Reader in Early Childhood at the University of East London, commented: "Is it not paradoxical that despite the evidence from well-funded and conscientiously executed longitudinal research on the longer-term impact of good quality early childhood programmes - and despite very high child poverty levels - the US still fails to implement policies bringing this provision within reach of all American children?

"Europe, France, Belgium and the Nordic countries are just some of the nations which have rolled out universal early childhood education without recourse to human capital theory or evidence from expensive demonstration projects.

"Instead they place much greater emphasis on educational and social equality and children's quality of life."