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Monday, 01 September 2008 19:06

Math preschoolers calculate better at 10 years

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A British study has concluded that children who learn math in preschool are better in mathematics at the age of ten years than those who didn’t learn math in their early education.


The researchers analyzed data on over 2,500 children who attended preschool for 18 months, on average, and attended at least five years of elementary school by the age of ten years.

In fact, U.K. child development expert Edward Melhuish, a professor of human development at the Institute for the Study of Children, Families, and Social Issues, University of London, stated their study found that, on average, preschoolers who learned math in preschool performed 27% better on a standard math test at the age of 10 years than others who did not learn math in preschool studies.

The conclusion of the Melhuish study was published in the August 2008 issue of the journal Science.

The title of the paper is “Preschool Influences on Mathematics Achievement.”

It was authored by: Edward C. Melhuish (Institute for the Study of Children, Families, and Social Issues, Birkbeck, University of London, U.K.), Kathy Sylva (University of Oxford, U.K.), Pam Sammons (University of Nottingham, U.K.), Iram Siraj-Blatchford (Institute of Education, University of London, U.K.), Brenda Taggart (Institute of Education, University of London, U.K.), Mai B. Phan (University of Kent, U.K.), and Antero Malin (Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues, Birkbeck, University of London, U.K.).

The abstract to their paper states, “The advantages of home learning environment and preschool are apparent years later in children's math achievement.”

The Boston Globe comments on the advantages of universal preschool education. Please read page two for the details.




The August 29, 2008 article “Preschool tied to higher math skills” in the Boston Globe states, “The finding may buttress the case made by advocates of universal preschool education in the United States, where the federal government provides such programs only for children from low-income families. By contrast, the UK has paid for preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds since 2004, regardless of their parents' earnings.”

Dr. Melhuish stated, "Preschool boosts the child's cognitive language and social development. Therefore when the child starts school, the child benefits more from the school experience and many aspects of development are better, including math scores." [Boston Globe]

The Boston Globe article concludes by saying, “According to NIEER [National Institute for Early Education Research, Rutgers University], US states have been increasing funding for preschool. In the 2006-2007 school year, 38 states spent $3.72 billion on preschool programs, an increase of 14 percent from the previous year.”

“What children learn at home is most important in determining how well they perform in school, the authors said. Another factor greater than preschool is the quality of the elementary school itself, they wrote. ‘A child who has a good home learning environment, good preschool, and good primary school will do better than a child with only two,’ Melhuish said. ‘The difference between a child's development with all three compared to none is very great.’” [Boston Globe]

"’A child who has a good home learning environment, good preschool, and good primary school will do better than a child with only two,’ Melhuish said. ‘The difference between a child's development with all three compared to none is very great.’” [Boston Globe]


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