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University of Missouri

Two Are Better Than One

For vulnerable children, more preschool is better.

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One year of day care is good, and two years are better, especially for some youngsters. That’s the conclusion Irma Arteaga, assistant professor of public policy in the Truman School of Public Affairs, reached after studying 30 years of longitudinal data collected from a Chicago preschool intervention study. The study placed 3- and 4-year-olds in a high-quality preschool environment and tracked them into adulthood, along with peers who did not attend preschool. From educational attainment to rates of incarceration, Arteaga found that the children with two years of preschool fared better than those with one or none. Most of the effects appeared in children from vulnerable backgrounds, such as those from low-income neighborhoods or households with mothers who did not graduate from high school.