Want to see your infant succeed? Economist James Heckman recommends sending him to a high quality pre-school programme. Find out why.
Are there any benefit of expanding early childhood education to cover infants? Economist and Nobel Laureate, Mr James Heckman thinks there are plenty!
According to the Nobel Laureate, infants who were enrolled in high quality early childhood development programmes were more likely to complete their high school education, less likely to commit crime, would have better hygiene and would have higher IQs than their counterparts that either did not take part in such programmes or were enrolled in low quality programmes. These programmes would include pre-schools and day care centres.
These programmes would require substantial investment, but the social impact would be greater. Calculating the rate of return for these programs, Heckman concludes that the returns could be 600%! These findings are based on two studies that look at the outcome of both high-quality care and moderate to low quality care programmes on the lives of 200 children. They were studied for 35 years, and the conclusions were drawn.
In the USA, the children from lower income families often do not have an access to high quality care. They are raised by either family or sent to a place where the quality of care is low. This quality of care impacts boys more than girls of that age group.
According to Heckman, self-control is a skill that is not easily mastered by young boys. Girls on the other hand are better at restraint. And that is the reason why children, especially boys, need a high quality if care for their own good.
The views are divided on this issue
There is a considerable amount of scepticism about the programs. Some experts suggest that the study design is not proper to draw any conclusions. David Armor, the professor emeritus of public policy at George Mason University feels that the benefits of early start are lost after a few years as the 'unexposed' tend to catch up.
How is this even relevant to us? Read on to find out.