Early childhood education is a crucial step in a child’s educational journey. This paper begins with a history of early childhood education programs in the United States, from the Head Start program to public and private programs. A child’s participation in a quality early education program is essential to mental, social and academic development, as is evident in the research of several successful model programs. The Abecedarian Project, Perry Preschool Program, Chicago Child-Parent Center, and Abbot Preschool Program provide an excellent evidence base for the benefits of early childhood education. Research of these projects show improvement in several areas, some of which are literacy, grade retention, cognitive skills, self-esteem, and high school graduation rates. There are currently several options for early childhood education ranging from the Head Start program to public school programs, to private options. The cost and benefits associated with each program differ widely across the range of available options. This paper concludes with recommendations for making early childhood education available for more children by making improvements to current programs and increasing funding.

Year Manuscript Completed

Fall 2018

Senior Project Advisor

Dr. Peggy Pittman-Munke

Degree Awarded

Bachelor of Integrated Studies Degree

Field of Study

Educational Studies

Document Type