Children attending full-day preschools more likely to succeed, study finds

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Children who attend full-day preschool programs are better prepared for elementary school than their part-time classmates, according to a study conducted at the University of Minnesota.

At full-day preschools, teachers can pack a lot of learning into a single day. The classes are smaller and parents are more involved.

Dr. Arthur Reynolds, part of the Institute of Child Development at the university, and other co-authors of the study looked at almost 1,000 children from low-income families who participated in either full or part-day preschool programs during the 2012-13 school year.

"There's a lot of play. There's a lot of outdoor activities. Children go on field trips, they get choices during the day about what they do and so there's really a mixing of different kinds of instruction," Reynolds said.

The researchers found that kids in full-day programs had higher levels of socio-emotional development, language and literacy skills and better attendance.

"Children in a full-day [program] were much more likely to be regularly attending programs so their average attendance rate was at least 5 points higher," Reynolds added.

Preschool teachers said there's a greater opportunity to have an impact on a child in a full-day setting.

"With the full day program, there's more that I can input in the classroom. There's more I can teach [the kids] that gets them ready for kindergarten and first grade compared to the half-day program," said preschool teacher Tameka Wells.

The study also states that children likely will not reap the benefits of a full-day program if they go to a low-quality preschool that acts more like a day care center than an educational program.

"We don't have to wait until the elementary grades to increase learning time," Reynolds said. "By offering full-day preschool, you're more than doubling the amount of learning time that goes on during the day."

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