Reading & Literacy

Early Years

By Linda Jacobson — February 28, 2001 2 min read

School Readiness: Children who took part in Michigan’s School Readiness Program, which helps low-income preschoolers prepare for school, scored significantly higher on several measures of school readiness than children from similar backgrounds who did not participate, according to a study by the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation.

For More Information

“Ready for Success: Annual Report of the Michigan School Readiness Program,” is available from the High/Scope Educational Research Foundation. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

The Ypsilanti, Mich.-based research organization, which is conducting a longitudinal study of the program for the state board of education, found that when the children reached elementary school, the pupils who had attended the preschool program showed more interest in school, had better attendance, and were more likely to take initiative to learn than those who had not participated in the program.

High/Scope researchers also found that children who had participated were less likely to be held back a grade than children in the comparison group. Moreover, the researchers found, the parents of children who had been in the program were more likely to communicate with teachers and to be involved in school activities than the parents of the other children.

The state- financed MSRP began as a small pilot program in 1985, but now has an annual budget of $72.6 million and serves more than 20,000 4-year olds in 488 school districts and 67 government agencies.

The researchers have been following 1,172 children for the past four years, including one group that participated in the readiness program and one that did not. The newest results focus on the 1999-2000 school year, in which the first group was in 3rd grade and the second was in 2nd grade.


Spreading Success: The North Carolina Partnership for Children has received a $527,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to open a new center to help other states set up programs similar to North Carolina’s Smart Start.

For More Information

More information about Smart Start is available.

Smart Start, which is run by the partnership, is a public-private effort to improve the quality of child- care programs and healthcare services for young children. The new National Smart Start Technical Assistance Center will provide information and guidance to policymakers in other states.

—Linda Jacobson

A version of this article appeared in the February 28, 2001 edition of Education Week

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