Volume 84, Issue 6 p. 2112-2130
Empirical Article

Impacts of a Prekindergarten Program on Children's Mathematics, Language, Literacy, Executive Function, and Emotional Skills

Christina Weiland

Corresponding Author

Christina Weiland

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Christina Weiland, Harvard Graduate School of Education, 14 Appian Way, Room 704, Cambridge, MA 02139. Electronic mail may be sent to [email protected].Search for more papers by this author
Hirokazu Yoshikawa

Hirokazu Yoshikawa

Harvard Graduate School of Education

Search for more papers by this author
First published: 27 March 2013
Citations: 412

This study is funded by the Institute of Education Sciences. Thanks to the Boston Public Schools; Jason Sachs; the BPS Department of Early Childhood; participating coaches, principals, teachers, and children; John Willett; Richard Murnane; Nonie Lesaux; John Papay; and members of the Harvard RD Methodology in Prekindergarten Studies Working Group (particularly Howard Bloom, Jens Ludwig, Doug Miller, Guido Imbens, and Thomas Lemieux). Special thanks to our research assistants Kjersti Ulvestad, Carla Schultz, Julia Hayden, Michael Hurwitz, Hadas Eidelman, Kam Sripada, Ellen Fink, Julia Foodman, Deni Peri, Caitlin Over, and John Goodson.

Abstract

Publicly funded prekindergarten programs have achieved small-to-large impacts on children's cognitive outcomes. The current study examined the impact of a prekindergarten program that implemented a coaching system and consistent literacy, language, and mathematics curricula on these and other nontargeted, essential components of school readiness, such as executive functioning. Participants included 2,018 four and five-year-old children. Findings indicated that the program had moderate-to-large impacts on children's language, literacy, numeracy and mathematics skills, and small impacts on children's executive functioning and a measure of emotion recognition. Some impacts were considerably larger for some subgroups. For urban public school districts, results inform important programmatic decisions. For policy makers, results confirm that prekindergarten programs can improve educationally vital outcomes for children in meaningful, important ways.