Edited by Harold Alderman
Education is often seen as a fundamental means to improve economic
prospects for individuals from low income settings. However, even with
increased emphasis on basic education for all, many individuals fail to
achieve basic skills to succeed in life.
The book presents evidence that one core reason is that by the time
a child is old enough to attend school, there is already a wide
disparity in cognitive skills and in emotional and behavioral
development among children from households of different socioeconomic
backgrounds. Low levels of cognitive development in early childhood
strongly correlate with low socio-economic status (as measured by
wealth and parental education) as well as malnutrition. These
disadvantages are often exacerbated by economic crises.
Fortunately, however, as documented in this volume, there are
programs that have proven effective in promoting a child's
development through caregiver-child interaction and stimulation, and
with well designed preschool programs. While preschool programs
currently cover a modest share of low income children, expansion of
such services to at risk populations is a cost-effective means of
improving overall educational achievement. Thus, focused preschool
programs can serve as a key investment in a strategy to reduce the
transmission of poverty from poor parents to their children.
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