As President Barack Obama pushes for his $75 billion universal preschool package, countries around the world are continuing to question whether participation in preschool programs should be required.
Researchers working in Iran, for example, have found that attending preschool provides students an edge socially over peers who do not participate in early-childhood education, but the benefits are not so terrific that preschool should be required, a new study published by the Journal of Pakistan Medical Association Aug. 31 states.
“The difference is significant, but not so highly significant as to recommend making it mandatory,” wrote Faezeh Tatari, Maryam Pashabadi, Vahid Farnia, Tayebe Nouri, Monire Hossieni and Daem Roshani.
The study looked at 62 1st graders living in the province of Kermanshah, Iran. Fifty percent of the students had participated in early-childhood education.
The researchers undertook the study because while many look at other types of preschool outcomes, few have assessed children’s social maturity as it relates to preschool participation, the report states.
Still, more work needs to be done in this area, the researchers said.
As Americans looking at this research, we may need to consider the cultural and social differences between America and Middle Eastern nations, but also take into account their experiences.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.