Research points to benefits of full-day preschool

Published: Apr. 20, 2018 at 3:20 PM EDT
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New research sheds light on the long term impacts of Pre-K and whether a half or full-day offers more benefits. In Vermont all children get ten hours a week of taxpayer funded Pre-K. CBS' Nikki Battiste visited New Jersey, where the state pays for some toddlers to attend school full-time.

Five-year-old Julissa Cruz can write her name, something she couldn't do before coming to Little Lamb Preschool in Vineland, New Jersey. Her mother, Patrina Cruz, is a single parent.

Patrina Cruz: Zero

Reporter Nikki Battiste: How much do you pay for Julissa to come here?

Students like Julissa get free, full-day, high-quality education at Little Lamb. New Jersey is one of 43 states where some children can attend state-funded preschool at no cost. Seven other states have "universal pre-k" free for all families, regardless of income.

"The bottom line is that students at both ends of the achievement spectrum benefit -- and benefit substantially -- in the longer run from participating in a high quality pre-k program," said Dr. Bill Gormley with Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy.

Gormley authored a recent study that shows full-day pre-k can lead to higher math scores and honors courses in middle school. He also says students who participate in a full-day program are less likely to repeat a grade. "That's an important outcome because grade retention is associated with a lot of negative outcomes later in life, including lower adult learning and higher rates of crime," he said.

Teacher Amy Tomasso says the benefits of a full-day of learning are endless for her students, including Julissa. "Her math skills -- I can see a huge difference in her, and also a lot of confidence and her self-esteem as well," she said.

Reporter Nikki Battiste: What differences have you seen in her?

Patrina Cruz: Her drawing, her cleaning up after she plays with toys, and her manners.

If we're letting the kids be the judge...

NB: If you like preschool, raise your hand?

(kids raise hand quickly)

Pre-k is getting an "A."