New research from one of the country’s leading experts in childhood development shows high-quality educational interventions in a child’s first few years of life can result in lasting economic, health and social benefits that extend beyond a single generation.

In 2010, James Heckman, a Nobel Laureate with the University of Chicago’s Center for the Economics of Human Development, analyzed the success of the Perry Preschool Project from an economic standpoint. His research found that the 1962-1967 program, which provided high-quality preschool and home visits to at-risk 3 and 4-year-olds in Ypsilanti, Michigan, had a 7% to 10% per year return on investment.

More children enrolled in the early intervention program graduated high school and had higher incomes later in life, compared to those in the control group. Plus, those exposed to the preschool curriculum and home visits had fewer arrests by age 40, compared to their peers — all of which resulted in reduced remedial education, health and criminal justice system expenditures.

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